plan 11Arsenic Safe Drinking Water:Gaighata

Summary

Self-supporting community- based mitigation program that provides arsenic safe water using modified dugwells along with public education on water related health effects.

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Background

Project Well, PW, (2001) has developed a self-supporting community-based mitigation program to provide arsenic safe water to the villagers of the districts of N 24 Parganas of West Bengal, India. There are 22 blocks in this district. PW has been operating in the parts of the blocks namely, Deganga and Habra, where the population drinking arsenic contaminated water >50µg/L are 87,334 and 66,685 respectively, and drinking >10 µg/L are 133460 and 106374 respectively (In India the drinking water standard for arsenic, according to the Bureau of Indian Standard, is 10µg/L). Experts from various disciplines are advisors of this program. The primary objective of Project Well is to encourage the use of modified conventional dugwell through small community-based groups, comprising 10-20 families, to manage the new source of arsenic safe water and make it sustainable.The program began with the first dugwell in 2001. The outcome of the one-year research program was published in 2003 (Ref: Smith, M. M., T. Hore, et al. "A dugwell program to provide arsenic-safe water in West Bengal, India: preliminary results." J Environ Sci Health Part A Tox Hazard Subst Environ Eng 38(1): 289-99, see pdf file below). In total, 45 dugwells were constructed in different villages. The map of the target area with the location of the dugwells is available at http://projectwellusa.org/maps/maps.htm. The villages under the Kolsur panchayat have been reported to be severely affected, with 75% of their tubewells contaminated.. In the next two years forty dugwells will be introduced in the Gaighata block where the number of people drinking water containing arsenic >50 µg/L is estimated to be about 106,000, and those who are drinking >10 µg/L number about 155,000.

Location

West Bengal, , India

Attachments

  • Xls BPR_Budg...
  • Pdf PW_Newsl...
  • Pdf PW_Newsl...
  • Pdf Article_...

Focus

Primary Focus: Drinking Water - Community
Secondary Focus: Hygiene Education

People Getting Safe Drinking Water: 1,200

Estimate: Families=300; Children=384;

School Children Getting Water: 240

People Getting Sanitation: 0

People Getting Other Benefits:

Public health education on arsenic health effects and personal hygiene is given to all the dugwell beneficiaries and also to children in schools. A training program on the maintenance of the dugwells (including chlorination) is given to develop a sense of ownership and to make the program sustainable. The field workers working on the dugwell program are selected from the arsenic afflicted villages. The office of Aqua Welfare Society is located in the village and the coordinator and project manager travel from Kolkata to meet with them regularly. Trades like well-digging, pottery, and masonry, are required for the dugwell program and are benefiting from work generated by the project.

Application Type: Project Funding

Start Date: 2006-11-01

Completion Date: 2008-11-01

Technology Used:

Modified conventional dugwells are constructed at carefully selected sites. The diameter of each dugwell is one meter and the depth is generally less than 30 feet. The design and practice of the Project Well dugwells differ from the traditional ones mainly in the following ways:1. A layer of coarse sand six inches wide envelops the outer wall of the concrete cylinder;2. The mouth of the well is covered with a nylon mosquito net and a tin sheet that is padlocked;3. Water is extracted using hand pumps to reduce potential bacterial contamination;4. Flexible pipes that float with the fluctuating water table are installed. 5. The dugwells are disinfected once a month with sodium hypochlorite solution containing 5% chlorine, following USEPA guidelines.The water in these shallow dugwells originates from rainwater or surface water from the surrounding water bodies that have low arsenic concentrations.

Phases:

Phases are defined by the construction of dugwells and they are as follows: Phase 7: 2007 - construction of twenty dugwells
Phase 8: 2008 - construction of twenty dugwells

All construction will be executed in summer.

Community Organization:

Six months before the construction of the dugwells, the groundwork is launched by the grassroots field workers, starting with a meeting with members of the local government bodies such as the gram panchayat, followed by several meetings with the villagers, held at prospective dugwell sites. The members of Project Well and the local NGO are also present at the meetings held at the local gram panchayat, or GP. The meeting is held primarily to notify the government about the program before the field workers enter the village and hold meetings with the villagers at the ?para? (a cluster of houses) level. Door-to-door campaigning is carried out, during which field workers cover the methods of the program and distribute information sheets on the effects of arsenic poisoning. After a few meetings with the prospective beneficiaries, the communities donate sites. (The dugwell is not constructed on any government property). The sense of ownership develops from the very start by this donation of a plot of land for the dugwell that is shared by the neighbors. After approval of the selected sites by the experts, based on the local geology and existence of arsenic contaminated tubewells, the community-based groups are formed.The family that donates the land becomes the chief caretaker. To maintain the well, training is given to an educated person of the community who is capable of measuring the volume of water in the well, from which the dose of disinfectant is determined. A user-friendly chart is given as a guide for the dose of disinfectant to be applied. In the areas where it is hard to find literate persons, a field worker chlorinates the water. Every month Rs. 10/- (25 U.S. cents) is collected from the beneficiary families for the maintenance of the well. The maintenance includes purchase of the disinfectant, repairing any wear and tear of the well, and measurement of arsenic once a year. The sense of ownership and investment develops amongst the users as they pay to obtain arsenic safe water.

Government Interaction:

Ancillary activities:

Educational institutions, government offices (GP's), clubs and women's organizations are also included in the public health education. 90% of the funds are disbursed in the villages. Local raw materials, skilled dugwell diggers and laborers construct the dugwells. Field workers, male and female, with a minimum of a secondary-level education are selected from the arsenic prone villages. There is no discrimination based on religion, political background or economic status. The field workers are given training on the following: 1.arsenic in drinking water and its health effects; 2. bacteria present in food and water and its health effects; 3. the need for chlorination of water; 4. good personal hygiene practices; 5. public relations and how to communicate with the villagers; 6. monthly visits to the villagers and updating the registers on any complaints or comments from the beneficiaries; 7. organizing and holding awareness meetings. The field workers constantly interact with the villagers, whose comments are noted down and discussed at community meetings, to solve any issues as early as possible.

Other Issues:

Research and Development is ongoing on the dugwells in which water contains organic odor and high fecal coliform, occurring mainly when the dugwell is fairly new. The water is treated with lime and, in cases of high fecal coliform levels, is also treated regularly with theoline, the disinfectant that contains 5% chlorine. Villagers are advised not to use the water for a few days during the period of shock treatment. Some villagers complain about the slight odor of chlorine, resulting in a new program introduced in July 2006 to assess the efficacy of locally available cheap domestic filters that would remove the unwanted smell. The analysis of the results is ongoing. Prior to the testing of water from twenty different sources, a pilot study of the three different types (steel body, plastic and earthen) of filters was done by four field workers. The outcome was that the earthen filter(value Rs.80/- or $2) was the best for it is cheap and affordable by the majority of the villagers and also efficient at keeping the water cool, that is appreciated in the hot weather prevalent almost whole year.
Water analysis to measure the concentration of arsenic levels and total and fecal bacteria of all functional dugwells is routinely done after construction. Also, every summer when the water levels drop, arsenic levels are measured. Analysis of four years of observations has been completed. An article discussing the results will be published in an international journal in January 2007.

Project Well keeps a database evaluating the use of the dugwells (see attached newsletter_2005). Consumers are visited monthly by the grassroots level field workers and asked about outbreaks of diarrhea and dysentery among users of each dugwell. In the winters of 2004 and 2005, door-to-door village surveys were carried out to create the database of the existing dugwells and observation of any outbreaks. There have been no such outbreaks linked to any particular dugwell water use over a period of four years.

Maintenance Revenue:

For 40 dugwells USD1360

Maintenance Cost: $34

Metrics:

Prior art before metrics

Cost: $37,000

Construction of 40 new dugwells:13333; Water analysis:1867; Transport:1067;Training, Awareness and Follow-Up:11500; Office expenses:2320. Total:30087

Co Funding Amount: $7,000

3000 by Private donors and 4000 proposed to UNICEF for intensifying awareness programs.

Community Contribution Amount:

Community contributes the land to construct the dugwell and Rs.10/- (25 cents) per month for maintenance of the dugwell.

Fund Requested: $30,000

Implementing Organization: Aqua Welfare Society, West Bengal, India

Members of Project Well, CA, USA and Aqua Welfare Society, West Bengal, India

All the members are in honorary positions and from various disciplines, as advisors to the dugwell program. The key founding members are:

1. Dr. Meera M Hira Smith, PhD (Geography), President and Director of Project Well, California, USA and researcher at the School of Public Health, Arsenic Health Effects Research Studies, University of California, Berkeley.
2. Dr. Timir Hore, Ph.D (Hydro-geology), Director of Project Well, New Jersey, USA. 3. Mr. Protap Chakraverti, (Geology) advisor of Project Well and Ex-director of Geological Survey of India, Kolkata.
4. Prof. Allan H Smith, (Epidemiology), Treasurer and Director of Project Well and Professor and Principal Investigator of Health Effect Studies on Arsenic in School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley.

The other members and advisors of Project Well are:
1. Ms. Cynthia Green (Environmental Engineer) Secretary of Project Well and masters candidate in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering, University of Texas.
2. Ms. Jane Liaw, MPH, University of California, Berkeley, USA. Ms. Lisa Booker, Oakland, California, USA.
3. Prof. Richard Wilson, PhD, Physics, Harvard University, Massachusetts, USA.

Honorary Members of Aqua Welfare Society, Kolkata, India are:
1. Mr. Amal Ghosh, (Lawyer), President.
2. Mr. Uday Mukherjee, (Geology), Secretary.
3. Ms. Alpana Hira-Davidson, (Geography, Lecturer) Treasurer.

Other members are:
4. Mr. Protap Chakraverti (Geology) Board member
5. Dr. Xavier Savarimuthu, PhD. (Environmental Science) Board member
6. Mr. Somendranath Banerjee (Geology) Board member
7. Mr. Punurdan Dutta (Social Worker) Board member
8. Mrs. Rajashree Hira, General member
9. Ms. Monimala Mishra, MSc. (Teacher) General member

Staff:
1. The Project Manager (2006): Mr. Suprio Das, Chartered Engineer.
2. Project Coordinator and Accounts Assistant: Mr. Sekhar Pal, M.Com.

Field Workers in the village office are:
3. Field Supervisor: Mr. Dennis Baroi
4. Mrs. Farida Bibi
5. Mr. Abhijit Karmakar
6. To recruit two more field workers, if funded, who will be selected from the Gaighata Block and will be given training to oversee 40 dugwells.

Attachments

  • Xls BPR_Budg...
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  • 2 participants | show more

    Implementing org

    Rajesh Shah of Blue Planet Network

    Please describe the relationship and control for the Indian organization with Project Well. Do they do any other work? Is it just an ext of Project Well in India (looks like from the board)? If so, why a different name? There was also talk last year about overhead just for money transfer and/or bank deposit, is that still true?

    Please describe the relationship and control for the Indian organization with Project Well. Do they do any other work? Is it just an ext of Project Well in India (looks like from the board)? If so, why a different name?

    There was also talk last year about overhead just for money transfer and/or bank deposit, is that still true?

    • Meera Hira-Smith of Project Well

      Aqua Welfare Society (AWS) is a newly registered organization (2005). It is kind of an extension of Project Well because some of the members are advisors of Project Well. The purpose of forming the new society is to get funds available in India. To be eligible for foreign currency account in the bank any NGO needs to operate in the field ...

      Aqua Welfare Society (AWS) is a newly registered organization (2005). It is kind of an extension of Project Well because some of the members are advisors of Project Well. The purpose of forming the new society is to get funds available in India. To be eligible for foreign currency account in the bank any NGO needs to operate in the field for three years. Until then Project Well is sending the fund to the personal account of the President who writes a check to AWS.
      For any amount of wire transfer there is a bank charge of US$30.00 each time.

  • 2 participants | show more

    Chemicals testing

    Rajesh Shah of Blue Planet Network

    Would like to see an analysis of the water done for chemicals (pesticides, fertilizers, etc.). The surface water may be arsenic and bacteria free but needs to also be safe from other toxins.

    Would like to see an analysis of the water done for chemicals (pesticides, fertilizers, etc.). The surface water may be arsenic and bacteria free but needs to also be safe from other toxins.

    • Meera Hira-Smith of Project Well

      The findings of arsenic and bacteria analysis of some dugwells are discussed in detail in the article that is recently published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Health Part A Tox Hazard Subst Environ. (January 2007, Vol.42, No.1) titled “Arsenic Concentrations and Bacterial Contamination in a Pilot Shallow Dugwell Progra...

      The findings of arsenic and bacteria analysis of some dugwells are discussed in detail in the article that is recently published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Health Part A Tox Hazard Subst Environ. (January 2007, Vol.42, No.1) titled “Arsenic Concentrations and Bacterial Contamination in a Pilot Shallow Dugwell Program in West Bengal, India.” The pdf format of the article is being send to the main address of BPR. However, here are the results of the 13 primary heavy metals (also discussed in the paper) of two dugwells. Tests are expensive hence only two dugwells were selected. How they were selected is discussed in the paper. In addition to this we consult hydro-geologists and geologists who have knowledge of the chemical quality of the water of the concerned areas. Thank you. Let me know if you have more questions.

      Parameter BIS, Drinking Water Standard PW-62/09/04 PW-192/09/04 PW-193/15/04 PW-173/15/04
      Antimony 0.006 U U NA NA
      Arsenic 0.01 0.030 U U U
      Beryllium 0.004 U U NA NA
      Cadmium 0.005 U U NA NA
      Chromium (Total) 0.1 U U NA NA
      Copper 1.3 U U NA NA
      Lead 0.015 U U NA NA
      Mercury 0.002 U 0.0440 U U
      Nickel NL U 0.006 NA NA
      Selenium 0.05 U U NA NA
      Silver 0.1 U U NA NA
      Thallium 0.002 U U NA NA
      Zinc 5 U 0.59 NA NA
      Fluoride 4 NA NA NA 0.2
      BIS-Bureau of Indian Standard, U- undetected, NA- not analyzed, NL - not listed

  • 3 participants | show more

    Phases or 2 separate projects

    Rajesh Shah of Blue Planet Network

    The proposal is to have 20 dugwells in 2007 and 20 in 2008. It appears as if its a request for 2 years of funding, which is not the current approach. In a phased approach, the same project would complete a phase and a decision would be made whether to continue to the next phase or stop then. It seems that only 20 dug wells should be con...

    The proposal is to have 20 dugwells in 2007 and 20 in 2008. It appears as if its a request for 2 years of funding, which is not the current approach.

    In a phased approach, the same project would complete a phase and a decision would be made whether to continue to the next phase or stop then.

    It seems that only 20 dug wells should be considered for this project with all the 2007 expenses only. Next year, another submission can be entered for 2008.

    • Meera Hira-Smith of Project Well

      The ground work for each phase starts in November of the preceeding year for it takes time to select sites prior to which several village meetings are held and also the weather is suitable for it is quite difficult to work in the summer months that starts in March. Many times after testing of water of nearby tubewells for confirmation ...

      The ground work for each phase starts in November of the preceeding year for it takes time to select sites prior to which several village meetings are held and also the weather is suitable for it is quite difficult to work in the summer months that starts in March. Many times after testing of water of nearby tubewells for confirmation of arsenic exposure, proposed sites gets cancelled. Unfortunately digging of wells is seasonal, that is in summer, when the water table is lowest. It is good to know if funds are available early on. I agree with BPR's decision of funding for 2007 only.

      • Rajesh Shah of Peer Water Exchange

        Thanks for all your responses. Please give a budget for 2007 only. Indicate whether all the field staff will be hired or not (as per 2 year plan).

        Thanks for all your responses. Please give a budget for 2007 only. Indicate whether all the field staff will be hired or not (as per 2 year plan).

    • Rajesh Shah of Peer Water Exchange

      Thanks for all your responses. Please give a budget for 2007 only. Indicate whether all the field staff will be hired or not (as per 2 year plan).

      Thanks for all your responses. Please give a budget for 2007 only. Indicate whether all the field staff will be hired or not (as per 2 year plan).

  • 3 participants | show more

    Cost details and the all important $25 number

    Rajesh Shah of Blue Planet Network

    The total cost is listed as 37000, but the total in the spreadsheet and else is 30087. Which is the right amount? If it is 30,087 then 7,000 co-funding should be subracted right? And we should recalculate on 2007 amount (as per above question). The cost details include the salaries of the entire staff for the year, not just project durat...

    The total cost is listed as 37000, but the total in the spreadsheet and else is 30087. Which is the right amount?

    If it is 30,087 then 7,000 co-funding should be subracted right? And we should recalculate on 2007 amount (as per above question).

    The cost details include the salaries of the entire staff for the year, not just project duration. It appears that this funding request underwrites the entire org for the year - BPR being the only donor (or at least the major donor).
    Are the people already hired and the rates given are 2006 rates and the project starts with a 10% increment?

    -----
    The $25 per person is Blue Planet Run's goal for the project, not just BPR contribution. We are seeking projects (for now) that come to $25 person total (regardless of cofunding). This is the message for the 2007 run; based on learnings and trends we change later.

    • Meera Hira-Smith of Project Well

      The right amount proposed to BPR is $30000. $7000 is addition to this amount. Out of which 4000 has been proposed to UNICEF for capacity building for awareness programs including one TV monitor, one projector, VCD player and other accessories. 200 awareness programs (12 months) in small groups called ‘shastho shawbha’ or ââ‚...

      The right amount proposed to BPR is $30000. $7000 is addition to this amount. Out of which 4000 has been proposed to UNICEF for capacity building for awareness programs including one TV monitor, one projector, VCD player and other accessories. 200 awareness programs (12 months) in small groups called ‘shastho shawbha’ or ‘health meetings’ are being held in the villages. Currently the equipments are being hired from the local stores. water analysis of 400 private tubewells for arsenic will is also in the proposal so that the tubewell owners know whether it is safe for them to drink water from their own tubewells or should they use the dugwell water. 6-10 villagers will also be given training on mobilization if funded. The remaining $3000 is carried over from last year to construct and carry out necessary water analysis of 4 dugwells in Habra II block (about 30 families or 120 people) and also distribute 100 domestic earthen filters to the pilot areas and evaluation of the response rate of the use of dugwells. In West Bengal water is available in plenty and Arsenic that cannot be seen nor tasted in the crystal clear tubewell water is making it more difficult to change people’s habit. Hence vigorous awareness programs on public health are crucial in this region.

      The project implemented by Project Well have been working since 2001 and the support to run the projects is founded by advisors from different disciplines, some of whom are members of the NGO in Kolkata, are honorary. None of the members are paid. There is no administrative cost incurred in USA. Yes BPR is the major donor. The field workers, project manager and the account assistant cum coordinator are already hired. 10% increment was started from 2005. The norm of 10%-15% increment in the NGO sector is generally practiced and the minimum rate of field workers is much higher in case of full time workers.

      • Rajesh Shah of Peer Water Exchange

        Thanks again for all the answers. Am not clear on the domestic earther filters - what do they do? Can some of the 4000 from Unicef (should you get it) be used for all the signs and printing and other educational and promotional materials?

        Thanks again for all the answers.

        Am not clear on the domestic earther filters - what do they do?

        Can some of the 4000 from Unicef (should you get it) be used for all the signs and printing and other educational and promotional materials?

        • Meera Hira-Smith of Project Well

          This is Jane; I work with Meera at Project Well. Meera is not able to access the internet until after the 17th, and she may add more details to this answer when she is able to log on. Regarding the domestic earthen filters: occasionally the water from the dugwells, though arsenic-safe and potable, has an organic smell that puts off some...

          This is Jane; I work with Meera at Project Well. Meera is not able to access the internet until after the 17th, and she may add more details to this answer when she is able to log on. Regarding the domestic earthen filters: occasionally the water from the dugwells, though arsenic-safe and potable, has an organic smell that puts off some people from drinking it. The filters are an inexpensive way to remove this smell from the water, and maximize utility of already-built dugwells.

          As for the $4000 from UNICEF, these funds will be used as listed by Meera above--in the electronic equipment for awareness programs, and for the water analysis/removal of impurities. I don't believe this money is earmarked for printing and creating educational or promotional materials.

          • Meera Hira-Smith of Project Well

            Thanks Jane. Would like to add a little here: As of October's record 6 out of 40 dugwells have light to medium organic odor. The people in the villages are living in the pollution free environment in respect of sound, air and water, unlike in the cities, until arsenic has been discovered as one of the deadly polluters hence the smell of ...

            Thanks Jane. Would like to add a little here: As of October's record 6 out of 40 dugwells have light to medium organic odor. The people in the villages are living in the pollution free environment in respect of sound, air and water, unlike in the cities, until arsenic has been discovered as one of the deadly polluters hence the smell of chlorine in the chlorinated dugwells is unbearable by the consumers. The taste (and smell) of water is same as the treated water in the city, negligible for those who have no other alternative than to drink what comes through the tap. The earthen filter costs US$2 (Rs.80-90) are fitted with ordinary charcoal candle that removes the impurities (if any) and the undesirable odor and make the water more palatable. The picture of such filter is in the Newsletter of 2005 that is available on the website.

        • Meera Hira-Smith of Project Well

          Thanks Jane. Would like to add a little here: As of October's record 6 out of 40 dugwells have light to medium organic odor. The people in the villages are living in the pollution free environment in respect of sound, air and water, unlike in the cities, until arsenic has been discovered as one of the deadly polluters hence the smell of ...

          Thanks Jane. Would like to add a little here: As of October's record 6 out of 40 dugwells have light to medium organic odor. The people in the villages are living in the pollution free environment in respect of sound, air and water, unlike in the cities, until arsenic has been discovered as one of the deadly polluters hence the smell of chlorine in the chlorinated dugwells is unbearable by the consumers. The taste (and smell) of water is same as the treated water in the city, negligible for those who have no other alternative than to drink what comes through the tap. The earthen filter costs US$2 (Rs.80-90) are fitted with ordinary charcoal candle that removes the impurities (if any) and the undesirable odor and make the water more palatable. The picture of such filter is in the Newsletter of 2005 that is available on the website.

      • Meera Hira-Smith of Project Well

        This is Jane; I work with Meera at Project Well. Meera is not able to access the internet until after the 17th, and she may add more details to this answer when she is able to log on. Regarding the domestic earthen filters: occasionally the water from the dugwells, though arsenic-safe and potable, has an organic smell that puts off some...

        This is Jane; I work with Meera at Project Well. Meera is not able to access the internet until after the 17th, and she may add more details to this answer when she is able to log on. Regarding the domestic earthen filters: occasionally the water from the dugwells, though arsenic-safe and potable, has an organic smell that puts off some people from drinking it. The filters are an inexpensive way to remove this smell from the water, and maximize utility of already-built dugwells.

        As for the $4000 from UNICEF, these funds will be used as listed by Meera above--in the electronic equipment for awareness programs, and for the water analysis/removal of impurities. I don't believe this money is earmarked for printing and creating educational or promotional materials.

        • Meera Hira-Smith of Project Well

          Thanks Jane. Would like to add a little here: As of October's record 6 out of 40 dugwells have light to medium organic odor. The people in the villages are living in the pollution free environment in respect of sound, air and water, unlike in the cities, until arsenic has been discovered as one of the deadly polluters hence the smell of ...

          Thanks Jane. Would like to add a little here: As of October's record 6 out of 40 dugwells have light to medium organic odor. The people in the villages are living in the pollution free environment in respect of sound, air and water, unlike in the cities, until arsenic has been discovered as one of the deadly polluters hence the smell of chlorine in the chlorinated dugwells is unbearable by the consumers. The taste (and smell) of water is same as the treated water in the city, negligible for those who have no other alternative than to drink what comes through the tap. The earthen filter costs US$2 (Rs.80-90) are fitted with ordinary charcoal candle that removes the impurities (if any) and the undesirable odor and make the water more palatable. The picture of such filter is in the Newsletter of 2005 that is available on the website.

      • Meera Hira-Smith of Project Well

        Thanks Jane. Would like to add a little here: As of October's record 6 out of 40 dugwells have light to medium organic odor. The people in the villages are living in the pollution free environment in respect of sound, air and water, unlike in the cities, until arsenic has been discovered as one of the deadly polluters hence the smell of ...

        Thanks Jane. Would like to add a little here: As of October's record 6 out of 40 dugwells have light to medium organic odor. The people in the villages are living in the pollution free environment in respect of sound, air and water, unlike in the cities, until arsenic has been discovered as one of the deadly polluters hence the smell of chlorine in the chlorinated dugwells is unbearable by the consumers. The taste (and smell) of water is same as the treated water in the city, negligible for those who have no other alternative than to drink what comes through the tap. The earthen filter costs US$2 (Rs.80-90) are fitted with ordinary charcoal candle that removes the impurities (if any) and the undesirable odor and make the water more palatable. The picture of such filter is in the Newsletter of 2005 that is available on the website.

    • Rajesh Shah of Peer Water Exchange

      Thanks again for all the answers. Am not clear on the domestic earther filters - what do they do? Can some of the 4000 from Unicef (should you get it) be used for all the signs and printing and other educational and promotional materials?

      Thanks again for all the answers.

      Am not clear on the domestic earther filters - what do they do?

      Can some of the 4000 from Unicef (should you get it) be used for all the signs and printing and other educational and promotional materials?

      • Meera Hira-Smith of Project Well

        This is Jane; I work with Meera at Project Well. Meera is not able to access the internet until after the 17th, and she may add more details to this answer when she is able to log on. Regarding the domestic earthen filters: occasionally the water from the dugwells, though arsenic-safe and potable, has an organic smell that puts off some...

        This is Jane; I work with Meera at Project Well. Meera is not able to access the internet until after the 17th, and she may add more details to this answer when she is able to log on. Regarding the domestic earthen filters: occasionally the water from the dugwells, though arsenic-safe and potable, has an organic smell that puts off some people from drinking it. The filters are an inexpensive way to remove this smell from the water, and maximize utility of already-built dugwells.

        As for the $4000 from UNICEF, these funds will be used as listed by Meera above--in the electronic equipment for awareness programs, and for the water analysis/removal of impurities. I don't believe this money is earmarked for printing and creating educational or promotional materials.

        • Meera Hira-Smith of Project Well

          Thanks Jane. Would like to add a little here: As of October's record 6 out of 40 dugwells have light to medium organic odor. The people in the villages are living in the pollution free environment in respect of sound, air and water, unlike in the cities, until arsenic has been discovered as one of the deadly polluters hence the smell of ...

          Thanks Jane. Would like to add a little here: As of October's record 6 out of 40 dugwells have light to medium organic odor. The people in the villages are living in the pollution free environment in respect of sound, air and water, unlike in the cities, until arsenic has been discovered as one of the deadly polluters hence the smell of chlorine in the chlorinated dugwells is unbearable by the consumers. The taste (and smell) of water is same as the treated water in the city, negligible for those who have no other alternative than to drink what comes through the tap. The earthen filter costs US$2 (Rs.80-90) are fitted with ordinary charcoal candle that removes the impurities (if any) and the undesirable odor and make the water more palatable. The picture of such filter is in the Newsletter of 2005 that is available on the website.

      • Meera Hira-Smith of Project Well

        Thanks Jane. Would like to add a little here: As of October's record 6 out of 40 dugwells have light to medium organic odor. The people in the villages are living in the pollution free environment in respect of sound, air and water, unlike in the cities, until arsenic has been discovered as one of the deadly polluters hence the smell of ...

        Thanks Jane. Would like to add a little here: As of October's record 6 out of 40 dugwells have light to medium organic odor. The people in the villages are living in the pollution free environment in respect of sound, air and water, unlike in the cities, until arsenic has been discovered as one of the deadly polluters hence the smell of chlorine in the chlorinated dugwells is unbearable by the consumers. The taste (and smell) of water is same as the treated water in the city, negligible for those who have no other alternative than to drink what comes through the tap. The earthen filter costs US$2 (Rs.80-90) are fitted with ordinary charcoal candle that removes the impurities (if any) and the undesirable odor and make the water more palatable. The picture of such filter is in the Newsletter of 2005 that is available on the website.

    • Meera Hira-Smith of Project Well

      This is Jane; I work with Meera at Project Well. Meera is not able to access the internet until after the 17th, and she may add more details to this answer when she is able to log on. Regarding the domestic earthen filters: occasionally the water from the dugwells, though arsenic-safe and potable, has an organic smell that puts off some...

      This is Jane; I work with Meera at Project Well. Meera is not able to access the internet until after the 17th, and she may add more details to this answer when she is able to log on. Regarding the domestic earthen filters: occasionally the water from the dugwells, though arsenic-safe and potable, has an organic smell that puts off some people from drinking it. The filters are an inexpensive way to remove this smell from the water, and maximize utility of already-built dugwells.

      As for the $4000 from UNICEF, these funds will be used as listed by Meera above--in the electronic equipment for awareness programs, and for the water analysis/removal of impurities. I don't believe this money is earmarked for printing and creating educational or promotional materials.

      • Meera Hira-Smith of Project Well

        Thanks Jane. Would like to add a little here: As of October's record 6 out of 40 dugwells have light to medium organic odor. The people in the villages are living in the pollution free environment in respect of sound, air and water, unlike in the cities, until arsenic has been discovered as one of the deadly polluters hence the smell of ...

        Thanks Jane. Would like to add a little here: As of October's record 6 out of 40 dugwells have light to medium organic odor. The people in the villages are living in the pollution free environment in respect of sound, air and water, unlike in the cities, until arsenic has been discovered as one of the deadly polluters hence the smell of chlorine in the chlorinated dugwells is unbearable by the consumers. The taste (and smell) of water is same as the treated water in the city, negligible for those who have no other alternative than to drink what comes through the tap. The earthen filter costs US$2 (Rs.80-90) are fitted with ordinary charcoal candle that removes the impurities (if any) and the undesirable odor and make the water more palatable. The picture of such filter is in the Newsletter of 2005 that is available on the website.

    • Meera Hira-Smith of Project Well

      Thanks Jane. Would like to add a little here: As of October's record 6 out of 40 dugwells have light to medium organic odor. The people in the villages are living in the pollution free environment in respect of sound, air and water, unlike in the cities, until arsenic has been discovered as one of the deadly polluters hence the smell of ...

      Thanks Jane. Would like to add a little here: As of October's record 6 out of 40 dugwells have light to medium organic odor. The people in the villages are living in the pollution free environment in respect of sound, air and water, unlike in the cities, until arsenic has been discovered as one of the deadly polluters hence the smell of chlorine in the chlorinated dugwells is unbearable by the consumers. The taste (and smell) of water is same as the treated water in the city, negligible for those who have no other alternative than to drink what comes through the tap. The earthen filter costs US$2 (Rs.80-90) are fitted with ordinary charcoal candle that removes the impurities (if any) and the undesirable odor and make the water more palatable. The picture of such filter is in the Newsletter of 2005 that is available on the website.

  • 3 participants | show more

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    Ned Breslin of Water for People

    Arsenic removal technologies are approaches are proliferating in Bangladesh and India, yet there is very little coordination which undermines the sector's ability to go to scale with arsenic work. It should be noted that Water For People has been working on the same issue and in the same area and the fact that we are not working together ...

    Arsenic removal technologies are approaches are proliferating in Bangladesh and India, yet there is very little coordination which undermines the sector's ability to go to scale with arsenic work. It should be noted that Water For People has been working on the same issue and in the same area and the fact that we are not working together is somewhat disappointing. We should be coordinating better and this is as much our fault as anything.

    My problem with the proposal is that it is not really a proposal. It is not clear where you will be working, what communities are affected, and how this will be measured. Its a lot of information on the technology and all but where are you working specifically.

    • Meera Hira-Smith of Project Well

      The location where Project Well is implementing the dugwells is mentioned in the Project Background and the map is available on the web site. The location of Gaighata is about 10-12 km north of Degnaga Block. The exact site location will be recorded using GPS and mapped if only funded. The Gaighata Block can be se...

      The location where Project Well is implementing the dugwells is mentioned in the Project Background and the map is available on the web site.
      The location of Gaighata is about 10-12 km north of Degnaga Block. The exact site location will be recorded using GPS and mapped if only funded. The Gaighata Block can be seen here .

      The latest article on dugwell is available online on Pubmed. I can send the e version to those who want. Please send me your email address.

      On 26th November, 2006 there was a meeting held in the village at the Kolsur High School (I was present) where a few NGOs and a few government bodies and few members of community groups were present to discuss the drinking water management by the villagers. (If you want the report on the meeting can be sent also). The representatives from Shibpur Engineering college who have been implementing the "amal" community arsenic removal filter were also present and shared their experience they are encountering in the villages. The amol filter was initially funded by Water for People as far I know. I am not sure who is funding now. I have been in touch with Rajashree M and Sudipta Burman of Water for People based in Kolkata. Thank you for this enquiry.

      • Rajesh Shah of Peer Water Exchange

        Do you see a way that the PWX mapping functionality can increase coordination between NGOs (and possibly gov't). I see a map on ProjectWell's website, but its hard to superimpose the work of other agencies. Clearly we need one place for all work to come together.

        Do you see a way that the PWX mapping functionality can increase coordination between NGOs (and possibly gov't). I see a map on ProjectWell's website, but its hard to superimpose the work of other agencies.

        Clearly we need one place for all work to come together.

        • Meera Hira-Smith of Project Well

          Give me some time I will try to think some ways that may help in coordination of the NGOs but it would be effective only to those who are partners of BPR. Years back tried to develop a website on NGOs working on arsenic issues in West Bengal. It was a geociities website that was not updated and nobody offered to take the responsibility i...

          Give me some time I will try to think some ways that may help in coordination of the NGOs but it would be effective only to those who are partners of BPR. Years back tried to develop a website on NGOs working on arsenic issues in West Bengal. It was a geociities website that was not updated and nobody offered to take the responsibility in Kolkata.

          I will be unable to access internet from 13th to 18th December.

      • Meera Hira-Smith of Project Well

        Give me some time I will try to think some ways that may help in coordination of the NGOs but it would be effective only to those who are partners of BPR. Years back tried to develop a website on NGOs working on arsenic issues in West Bengal. It was a geociities website that was not updated and nobody offered to take the responsibility i...

        Give me some time I will try to think some ways that may help in coordination of the NGOs but it would be effective only to those who are partners of BPR. Years back tried to develop a website on NGOs working on arsenic issues in West Bengal. It was a geociities website that was not updated and nobody offered to take the responsibility in Kolkata.

        I will be unable to access internet from 13th to 18th December.

    • Rajesh Shah of Peer Water Exchange

      Do you see a way that the PWX mapping functionality can increase coordination between NGOs (and possibly gov't). I see a map on ProjectWell's website, but its hard to superimpose the work of other agencies. Clearly we need one place for all work to come together.

      Do you see a way that the PWX mapping functionality can increase coordination between NGOs (and possibly gov't). I see a map on ProjectWell's website, but its hard to superimpose the work of other agencies.

      Clearly we need one place for all work to come together.

      • Meera Hira-Smith of Project Well

        Give me some time I will try to think some ways that may help in coordination of the NGOs but it would be effective only to those who are partners of BPR. Years back tried to develop a website on NGOs working on arsenic issues in West Bengal. It was a geociities website that was not updated and nobody offered to take the responsibility i...

        Give me some time I will try to think some ways that may help in coordination of the NGOs but it would be effective only to those who are partners of BPR. Years back tried to develop a website on NGOs working on arsenic issues in West Bengal. It was a geociities website that was not updated and nobody offered to take the responsibility in Kolkata.

        I will be unable to access internet from 13th to 18th December.

    • Meera Hira-Smith of Project Well

      Give me some time I will try to think some ways that may help in coordination of the NGOs but it would be effective only to those who are partners of BPR. Years back tried to develop a website on NGOs working on arsenic issues in West Bengal. It was a geociities website that was not updated and nobody offered to take the responsibility i...

      Give me some time I will try to think some ways that may help in coordination of the NGOs but it would be effective only to those who are partners of BPR. Years back tried to develop a website on NGOs working on arsenic issues in West Bengal. It was a geociities website that was not updated and nobody offered to take the responsibility in Kolkata.

      I will be unable to access internet from 13th to 18th December.

    • Meera Hira-Smith of Project Well

      Also, the arsenic removal technologies (ARPlants) have been partially failure in some districts of West Bengal. A report published in 2004 by School of Environmental Studies of Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India was submitted to the state and central government of India. The report states that "out of total 182 ARPs in 4 Blocks (Hasnabad...

      Also, the arsenic removal technologies (ARPlants) have been partially failure in some districts of West Bengal. A report published in 2004 by School of Environmental Studies of Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India was submitted to the state and central government of India. The report states that "out of total 182 ARPs in 4 Blocks (Hasnabad, Gaighata, Basirhat-1 and Habra-1), 162 (89%) ARPs were not useful". This survey was of North 24 Parganas alone. Reports from Murshidabad indicate even worse results. During my recent visit, I have come to know that the District Headquarters are not allowing implementation of any ARPs.

      Furthermore, when we recently found out that an arsenic patient had been drinking water from a nearby ARP, we tested, in duplicate, the arsenic levels at 7-day intervals for one month. The arsenic levels were more than 100 PPB; this was perhaps due to lack of maintenance. I have notified the implementer based in Kolkata, who said that the unit would be sent for 'regeneration'. The irony of this episode is that people were paying to drink arsenic laced water (I had not wanted to discuss this example here but the reviewer from Water for People may not be aware of these ARP issues). For historical reports please refer to the following article on the weblink of Project Well. "5. Field observations of alternate sources of drinking water in the arsenic affected village, Kamdebkathi, in West Bengal, India, and recommendations - Meera M Hira Smith, Ph.D. Project Well, March 27, 2004 - Posted on: March 31, 2004".

      The ARP in picture 4 is no longer functioning and on November 16th I have personally interviewed some people of the area who are drinking and cooking with water obtained from the dugwell number PW48.

      For better coordination Project Well has introduced mapping in 2003. The updated version is uploaded every year on the www.projectwellusa.org web site in the map link that can be viewed by all the organizations that have access to the Internet. Project Well is quite aware of who all are working in the arsenic affected areas of West Bengal. How come Water for People based in US does not know the activities of Project Well? As mentioned earlier, Dr. Rajashee Mukherjee and Dr. Sudipta Burman, representatives of Water for People, had attended the workshop organized by Project Well on 6th April 2005 to discuss the dugwell program.

      The reviewer also commented that “so it looks quite cut and pasted but not really thought through on the ground”: of course parts of it is cut and pasted but from its original proposal. The area concerned is very well known by the implementers and the advisors including the geology of the area for they have been working on health effects of arsenic in the area for the last ten years.

  • Rating: 7

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    I need to see an analysis of the water for other compounds such as pesticides and fertilizers done as part of this project.

  • Rating: 9

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    Good project. The project strategy is well desgined and deserves the fund.

  • Rating: 4

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  • Rating: 3

    review by (only shown to members)

    Its basically a standard overview of the technology and all but there is not very much on where you will be working, what the problems are and so it looks quite cut and pasted but not really thought through on the ground.

    Not sure I would finance this in comparison to other projects.

Name Status Completion Date Amount Assigned
Arsenic Safe Drinking Water:Gaighata PWSET2A Complete - Successful Dec 2007 $14,308