Hundreds of villages in India have been deprived of the basic necessities of life and one such necessity is ‘Water’. Availability of clean and healthy water at the comfort of their homes is almost a far fetched reality to many villagers even today. While people living below the poverty line have a dearth of safe water, it is their illiterate ignorance that has been a barrier for them to exploit the natural resources. Water-borne diseases being aplenty, this has resulted in ill health caused in addition to the unhygienic sanitation practices.
It has been studied that the wells, hand pumps (borewells) and spring water are the only sources of drinking water available to the tribals in these villages. The spring water cannot be directly consumed as it may be imperative to note that this is drawn out of small puddles that it forms at the bottom of a hill. Upstream deposits and ablutions make it more polluted thus rendering it unfit for drinking without being filtered. Well water is mostly contaminated during rainy season and the borewell water consists of high iron content making the water red and smelling oily.
GFWSS (Gravity Fed Water Supply System) is thus the beacon of light in the lives of these tribal villagers. This technique involves creation of a source tank across the identified springsource, distribution cum filter tank at natural spring source and further channelizing the water (through gravity) to the village using pipelines. It includes the protection of catchment areas by encouraging villagers on plantation surrounding the GFWSS area and providing trainings to the ‘Village Development Committee’ formed for this purpose.
The tribal communities living in the Eastern ghats of Visakhapatnam District will extensively benefit from this exercise with what about 500+ villages and more than 150,000 people directly benefitting from this initiative. 100 villages
are being targeted completion in the first year itself. Beneficiaries are involved in the project from the stage of MLP (Micro Level Plan) preparation to construction and even maintenance of the system. A Baseline Survey is conducted before every MLP is drawn. The villagers are encouraged to raise a Village Development Fund (VDF) to construct GFWSS. Trainings on personal hygiene and sanitation are conducted. The community proposes to raise a small development fund collected periodically called “Village Development Fund” (VDF) from each family, which will be deposited with the CAGs. This is called ‘Shramadan’ by the villagers. This fund is further utilized for the repair of the systems in the event that it is required. VJNNS is runs these meetings initially and gradually withdraws itself when it is confident that VDC is capable of handling all the activities by themselves.
The focus is on easing out the workload on Women and Girl Child. Without water, they suffer heavily as they are responsible to fulfil the water needs of the entire family. GFWSS helps the female members of the family to engage themselves in contributing to the other needs of the family by bringing water to their doorsteps. Women Empowerment, Cleaner Villages, Financial Planning, Waste Management and Scalability are some of the noteworthy benefits of this program.
The objective of this project is to construct 100 GFWSS every year and training imparted before and after the construction of the project, on its operation and maintenance. Live feed of the activities would be made available to VJNNS water and sanitation portal and social media would be used to propagate the information (Twitter / Facebook). Apart from daily web updates, quarterly and annual reports will be provided.