Restoring Broken Wells

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Over the past ten days, 15 students and 3 faculty from Amrita University’s Live-in-Labs® program Amrita Center for International Programs (ACIP) have been busy making life easier for villagers in Kerkata and Bundubeda, Amrita SeRVe’s Jharkhand villages. During this time, the team restored two drinking-water wells that were previously difficult to use, with one even being a safety and health hazard due to its debilitated condition.

Earlier, villagers had to precariously balance on a plank positioned across the well to lower their buckets by a rope and then pull up the full vessel of water without falling into the well or injuring their back when lifting. Further, the wall of the well was broken so runoff water and waste from the ground fell into the well making the water unsanitary. Seeing this, the team got to work designing a more suitable solution for the villagers.

Initially, the students along with villagers, repaired the wall with concrete and bricks to make it more level and secure. The students then designed and fabricated a steel frame at a local workshop and installed the frame with concrete support alongside the well. They then attached a pulley to the steel frame for ease of lowering buckets and drawing water from the well. Finally, they painted the frame and repeated the process for the second village well.

For the villagers, these repairs and improvements make collecting drinking water not nearly as cumbersome and dangerous as the wells are now safer and more accessible. And for the Live-in-Labs students, it was an opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge to address and solve a real-world challenge faced by these rural Indian communities. The team comprised of students from multiple departments of the School of Engineering who were guided by staff from the Department of Civil Engineering and Department of Mechanical Engineering. The students are in the village as part of a 7-day field study offered as an academic course under the Live-in-Labs program. During their stay in the village, they came to understand the challenges faced by the villages in the area of water. This interdisciplinary team of students will design and implement solutions for other challenges identified in the village on their second visit.

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