Better Sources for Drinking Water
Intensive work starts in five Amrita SeRVe villages across India
by Renjith Mohan
Travelling across five states over the course of one month, a strong team of engineers worked with villagers to come up with new solutions for water problems. Using knowledge from the Civil Engineering Department of Amrita University, the goal is to improve access to water where it is most urgent.
First, Amma told Br. Hari and Br. Sriram to visit Amrita SeRVe villages to study what problems people were facing with regards to water. Immediately, the brahmacharis set forth and visited 18 villages in 16 states. The preliminary survey meant first meeting with local people to find out directly from them their needs.
The brahmacharis shortlisted five villages in the most dire conditions: Doctor Khera, Uttar Pradesh; Pandori, Jammu & Kashmir; Dunda, Uttarakhand; Gudipati Cheruvu, Andhra Pradesh; and Ratanpur, Bihar.
Next a team of engineers from Amrita University’s civil engineering department, lead by Dr. Sreevalsa Kothukar, visited these five villages and made a master plan for each one.
The team met with government officials and together they conducted surveys to model new solutions. Putting together the opinions of all stakeholders, they came up with long-term and short-term plans that would deliver both water conservation and easy access to it.
Then came a team from the Amrita Centre for Wireless Networks and Applications to start actual implementation of the new ideas. So far, the following has been completed in three of the five villages:
Key Issue – only two hand pumps for the whole community and one of them was out of commission for quite some time. Four new handpumps were installed and the existing ones were repaired. Now the whole village has easy access to clean and healthy water.
Key Issue – current water distribution creates disparity in access to water. The team has modified the current network to make sure all families have an equal and continuous supply. They built new buffer tanks at the source to regulate the supply and a pipe network was completely modified to avoid leakage and reduce the network length.
Gudipati Cheruvu, Andhra Pradesh
Key Issue – because the area is dry, in summer, the water would become scarce, especially with no groundwater recharge happening due to droughts. In addition, water was collected directly from a motor pump which resulted in wastage due to the way the pump had to be turned on and off just to get supply going.
To solve these problems, a water distribution system with one main tank and eight small tanks was established. Thirty taps were then mapped out to supply water for the village. There are four borewells connected to the network, so now the system will save up to 1.5 crore litres of water per year.