Dari village in Veraval taluka, Gujarat, has always been a peaceful and harmonious place populated by about 600 Muslim and 400 Hindu families. The only spiking point was water. The village received water at one outlet in the village, courtesy the Regional Water Supply Scheme. But inequitable distribution of the life-sustaining liquid would often trigger friction among the residents and during summer, the villagers frequently engaged in pugnacious exchange of words and much more. Water supply, the villagers agreed, must flow into each and every household.
In 2009, the Coastal Salinity Prevention Cell, Ahmedabad, along with the local implementing support agency Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (India) (AKRSP(I)), Ahmedabad, selected Dari for setting up drinking water infrastructure under the Coastal Area Development Programme (CADP). At the outset, 20 meetings were held in different hamlets of the village to create awareness on the programme. Spearheading the cause were two local lads, Jagdish Bamaniya and Faruq Hasan Aakani, both selected by AKRSP(I) for their eagerness to help in solving the problem, coupled with their existing rapport with the community. The duo also contributed towards planning and organising workshops and exposure visits for the villagers.
The drinking water scheme, estimated to cost around Rs1.8 million, was designed with the help of engineers from AKRSP(I). Once the scheme was approved, Jagdish and Faruq initiated the task of collecting contributions from the community. They collected contributions from 350 households and deposited the amount in the bank. Thanks to their efforts in getting the village folk together and ensuring communal harmony, the drinking water scheme was operationalised soon thereafter, bringing clean water directly to each household in Dari.
Water ever it takes
Under the Kharash Vistarotthan Yojana, the Tata Trusts are supporting the CADP, which was operationalised in 2009 and is implementing drinking water schemes in 300 coastal villages across 21 talukas in nine districts of Gujarat, besides sanitation interventions in 100 villages. CADP will cover 100,000 households and aims at putting in place water supply and sanitation infrastructure, water quality and testing, community-level capacity building and imparting awareness of hygiene and sanitation to the target group. It also focuses on other key issues relating to water management. Villages, which hitherto had access to around 15 litres per capita per day (LPCD) of water (quality not assured) are expected to receive 40 LPCD for drinking and domestic use after commissioning of the schemes; similarly, villages having water quality problems would receive at least 5 LPCD of treated water through reverse osmosis units.