30 December, 2021

Quest for safe drinking water

How an intervention by the Tata Water Mission enabled a village in Andhra Pradesh to beat a long-standing water quality crisis

After intervention at the project site
After intervention at the project site
After intervention at the project site
After intervention at the project site

Every day, T Nagaraju would travel 16 kilometres to get the 20 litres of water his family needed for drinking and cooking. The four-member family from Matlam village in Andhra Pradesh’s Krishna district was not alone in this ordeal; the entire village was hit by a severe water crisis. The ground water in Matlam was so saline and unsafe for drinking that some residents of the village complained of knee problems as a result of consuming it. Many of them would go to faraway places to fetch water, often lining up at water tankers for hours on end. And if the tankers went empty before their turn arrived, they had to return home disappointed.

Mr Rajendra Babu, Regional Manager, Tata shares, “Fed up with the water problem, Matlam’s residents came together to bring change. In the Year 2019, they reached out to the Vijayavahini Charitable Foundation (VCF) with a request to provide safe drinking water in their area. VCF is an associate organisation of the Tata Trusts and implements projects in Andhra Pradesh.”

VCF is implementing the Tata Trusts’ initiative - Tata Water Mission (TWM) in multiple districts of Andhra Pradesh. As on March 2021, the TWM initiative of the Trusts is being implemented in 15 states across the country covering 5,500 households across 90 districts, and over 3.5 million beneficiaries.

Mr Rajendra explains, “After meeting the residents, we understood the water quality crisis being faced by them and decided to set up a water treatment plant that would benefit nearly 900 households in the village. And so, the project began in right earnest. With the support of the village committee, VCF initiated the work for setting up a water treatment plant. A bore was dug and the ground water was examined on various parameters. After rigorous study, a bench of water experts recommended the necessary specifications for the water plant to provide purified water to the community.”

With the support of multiple stakeholders, VCF constructed a water plant for the people of Matlam in the year 2020. The water plant meets the IS 10500:2012 standards. As on March 31, 2021, safe drinking water had been provided to 583 households in the village. The team plans to cover the entire village of 900 households by 2022.

VCF also conducted Information, Education and Communication, and Behaviour Change Communication activities in schools and Anganwadi centres as well as door-to-door campaigns to ensure that the communities understand the benefits of safe drinking water and proper water handling practices. The village water committee has also been trained and capacity-building sessions on operation and maintenance of the water plant have been conducted to ensure its sustainability.

As a beneficiary said, “Prathiniti bottu pragathiki mettu” - Every step is a step towards progress.