plan 293 Arsenic Safe Drinking Water: Nadia – Chakdah Set5 E (10)

Summary

Sustainable, community-based mitigation program that provides safe water using modified borewells and bore-dugwells, along with public education on water-related health effects and practice of proper personal hygiene.

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Background

The primary objectives of Project Well-Aqua Welfare Society are to provide safe water through modern, modified design dugwells, bore-dugwells and borewells, and to establish and encourage community-based groups (CBGs) to manage these arsenic-free water sources, so that they are sustainable. Project Well also regularly educates the community on arsenic and other health issues ..................................Please view rest of the background in the profile of Project Well.

Location

Madanpur, Chakdah, Nadia, West Bengal, India

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Focus

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

People Getting Safe Drinking Water: 300

The consumer demographic data will be entered after registers are created, when the communities start drinking water, by the end of 2011 or beginning of 2012. Construction of 45 wells (10 borewell and 35 bore-dugwell) in 2010 has just been completed, and the registers of these wells will be created by the end of 2010. The demographic data from 2009 is given below. Out of 25 newly constructed dugwells in 2009, seven dugwells were not used at all for various reasons discussed below. Among the other 18 dugwells, the total number of consumers is 945 and number of families is 171. This number includes a school with 344 students and teachers. The detailed demographic data of 7 of these 18 dugwells have not been recorded because the consumers started using the dugwells only recently, though number of consumers and consumer families have already been noted.
As mentioned above, the 18 dugwells cater to a population of 945, and the demographic data of 11 dugwells with detailed demographic data are as follows:
Total number of families: 91
Male: 205
Female: 169
Students: 96 (includes male and female)
children <5: only 5

School Children Getting Water:

People Getting Sanitation: 0

People Getting Other Benefits: 314

Between December 2009 and March 2010, we held 12 health meetings that included 39 community-based groups. A total of 211 villagers attended, of which 42 were children, 65 were men and 106 were women. In addition to these health meetings, there were village meetings held at the new sites for 2010. At such meetings, all villagers are taught the effects of drinking arsenic-contaminated water and the benefits of drinking arsenic-safe water; they are also informed that the Project Well water sources are treated with chlorine, as is done in the metropolitan water supply. They are taught the practice of proper personal hygiene to prevent spread of water- and food-borne diseases. Nine field workers work on this educational program. In April, May, June, and July 2010, more village meetings before and after construction at the 45 dugwell sites were held. From August until the end of the year, four types of awareness programs are scheduled, namely village meetings during site selection, after construction of dugwells, after people start drinking the water, and in areas where dugwells are not well-accepted (labeled ‘special care’ dugwells). Meetings with government offices like the Block Development Office and the Gram Panchayet are also held. We face a challenge persuading people to drink chlorinated water (which might have a chlorine odor and/or taste) when they are used to drinking crystal clear, cool water (often referred to as ‘sweet’ water by villagers) containing deadly arsenic. Thus, visiting the villagers repeatedly, soliciting their feedback, and implementing improvements will help bring about change more effectively than simply implementing a water source and then leaving.

Application Type: Program Funding

Start Date: 2010-10-01

Completion Date: 2011-07-31

Technology Used:

Most Project Well water sources are conventional dugwells, with a modified design that reduces potential bacterial contamination, constructed at carefully selected sites.The dugwells are fed by rainwater and are therefore not contaminated with arsenic. Wells are also protected from external contamination by a net cover and a tin roof. Water is withdrawn using traditional hand-pumps. (For photos, published reports and newsletters, please visit www.projectwellusa.org).
From 2003 to 2008, due to the El Nino effect, annual rainfall decreased from 380 cm to 70 cm. To increase the depth of dugwells in some areas where availability of water is especially scarce in summer, a new design has been experimented with that has turned out to be groundbreaking. It is a bore-dugwell (PW74GDP1, http://peerwater.org/projects/72 ). A 8-inch diameter PVC pipe is used to penetrate the thick layer of very fine sand below a depth of 10 feet where, due to sand boiling, manual digging is impossible. This 20-foot long PVC pipe increases the dugwell depth to 30 feet below ground-level. Water is now available in summer months unless the rainfall is really scarce and the location of the well is far away from the water bodies. Careful selection of sites is very important and the geologists advises using Earth Google Map. In 2009, fifteen bore-dugwells were constructed at an average depth of 28 feet. In 2010, Project Well installed 36 more bore-dugwells. In addition, we also constructed nine borewells of 30 feet, with diameter of 10 inches and thickness of 8 millimeters. The pipes used in borewells/tubewells in the villages are usually of smaller diameter, about 2-3 inches wide, and penetrate to the second confined aquifer at more than 50 feet. Arsenic is present in certain areas in the second aquifer, and thus many tubewells are unsuitable for further use. Project Well is installing similar borewells but with a bigger diameter (10inches) and to a depth of 30 feet, tapping water from the unconfined aquifer. The availability of borewell water throughout the year will be noted and compared with that of bore-dugwells, which contain a greater volume of water and can provide for more consumers. The advantage of borewells is that they look and work much like the tubewells that villagers are comfortable with using, and thus may gain easier acceptance.
Future construction in 2011, as outlined in this proposal, will be of both, the bore-dugwell and borewell designs.

Phases:

Yes, over a period of one year.

Community Organization:

The demand for more dugwells is high mainly in Chakdah, Swarupnagar Blocks, where the population is large and people are aware of the health effects of arsenic . In 2008, more than 25 village meetings were held before construction. Similar village meetings will be held at the proposed villages and will be organized by experienced field workers. After a few meetings with prospective beneficiaries, the communities donate sites. (The dugwell is not constructed on government property). A sense of ownership develops from the very start, through this donation of a plot of land by the community. After approval of the selected sites by experts, based on local geology and existence of arsenic-contaminated tubewells nearby, community-based groups (CBG) are formed. These groups comprise people who will be using the dugwell water. The family that donates the land becomes the chief caretaker. To maintain the well, training is given to a person in the community who is capable of measuring the volume of water in the well, from which the disinfectant dose is determined. A user-friendly chart is given as a guide for the dose of disinfectant to be applied. In areas where it is hard to find a literate person, a field worker measures the water and gives a three-week dose for users to apply. The disinfectant is supposed to be purchased by the CBGs, but very few CBGs do this; however, they do take care of minor wear-and-tear repairs of the well and the hand-pump. Once a year, arsenic analysis is overseen by Project Well. A sense of ownership and investment develops amongst the users as they pay for the maintenance to obtain arsenic-safe water.

Government Interaction:

These projects are implemented by our local affiliate Non Governmental Organization. Government interaction with the Block Development Office (BDO) and panchayets comes only right before starting the program, in terms of informing them about our work in the area, to avoid any duplication of effort. Sometimes government officials, such as members of the panchayet, help us select sites that later are given scientific approval by experts in our partner NGO, Aqua Welfare Society. In 2007 and 2008, 44 dugwells were constructed in the Gaighata block. In 2009, 20 more dugwells were constructed in Gaighata and Swarupnagar blocks of North 24 Parganas, three in the districts of Murshidabad, and two in Nadia (total number of dugwells=25). Formal meetings with local government bodies such as at the Block Development Office (BDO) and the gram panchayats were not needed for the construction in Gaighata and Swarupnagar in 2010 because they were informed about the project in the past. In the Chakdah Block, meetings were held with the Block Development Officer on a certain day when members of many panchayets were present. Plans to implement new dugwells in the Chakdah block was discussed. Hence, for 2011, meetings in the Chakdah block will not be required. Plans to meet with the BDO’s of the new areas, such as Baduria, Bashirhat and Haringhata blocks have been scheduled for as early as August 2010. The Project Well project manager and the technical manager will meet the officials.

Ancillary activities:

Project Well keeps a database evaluating the use of the arsenic-safe wells, using Google maps and an Excel file that relate two components: Dugwell identification number and number of users. The Excel file also contains an assessment of the water quality. In addition, the field workers record notes of all the technical wear-and-tear that are to be fixed by the consumers if there are enough collected funds; otherwise, the cost is subsidized by Project Well. Consumers are visited by grassroots field workers monthly during the first year and quarterly thereafter, and asked about diarrhea and dysentery outbreaks. Once a year, a senior Project Well member visits some of the dugwells selected at random from the map to cross-check data produced by the field workers.
Research and Development on the dugwells is ongoing. In 2009, seven out of 25 bore-dugwells could not be used because: 1) the pipe inserted in three bore-dugwells encountered constriction due to hydro-pressure during the monsoon period, and the pipe was also filled with sand. This was the first time this happened in three dugwells, leading us to change the dimension of the pipes to a thicker: 8mm instead of 6mm. 2) three dugwells did not produce good quality of water (i.e. organic odor), and the villagers did not want to drink it. These six dugwells are thus labeled ‘special care’ dugwells, and meetings with the potential users are being held to motivate them to use cheap earthen filters that remove the organic odor that is their main complaint and the technical issue will be addressed of three other dugwells and try to make them usable.

Other Issues:

Maintenance Revenue:

The users will be required to purchase Theoline, the chlorine disinfectant, and also repair minor wear-and-tear. Field workers will visit the wells every month for one year to get technical and utility reports, after which they will inspect the wells once or twice a year.

Maintenance Cost: $40

Metrics:

Prior art before metrics

Cost: $11,614

There are six proposals, for a total of 50 wells (25 borewells and 25 bore-dugwells). All the expenses have been equally distributed among the 6 proposals to avoid any overlapping: for example, one of the major component of these proposals is the awareness program, so the expenses and tools associated with the program, including a projector, are distributed between the 6 budgets.
Summary of cost
construction (5 borewells and 5 bore-dugwells) 8000
water analysis 478
For Awareness programs, and projecter, microphone, speaker. 333
transport 267
Service fees 2123
maintenance and overheads 414
Total 11614

Co Funding Amount:

Community Contribution Amount:

Properties on which to construct the dugwell, as well as fresh cooked meals for the team of diggers and field workers on the days of construction. The communities pay for the maintenance of the wells, including chlorination and repair of normal wear-and-tear.

Fund Requested: $11,614

Implementing Organization: Project Well & Aqua Welfare Society

Aqua Welfare Society (AWS) is the partner NGO of Project Well. Their office is based in North 24 Parganas. The seven honorary board members are located in Kolkata. New field workers have been engaged mainly for the surveillance program. There is one project manager, one technical manager, one awareness program manager, two technical assistants, one maintenance assistant, one assistant for data entry, one account assistant and three field workers; three more field workers will be hired. All field staff are constantly interacting with the villagers and beneficiaries, training the users on well maintenance, organizing village meetings and health meetings. The project manager visits the villages three to four times a week and works alongside the field workers, meeting with government officials and villagers, selecting sites, coordinating well construction, sending reports to Project Well and meeting with the members AWS to keep the projects running. The awareness programmer is in charge of conducting public education programs in the communities and educational institutions, which is the other component that makes our program sustainable.

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  • 2 participants | show more

    Community Participation

    Idriss Kamara of Safer Future Youth Development Project

    Hi, this seems like a worthwhile project. We were just wondering, with regards to the budget, why are there different levels of pay grade for the field workers? Also, does the project take into account gender and cast equality when implementing the project, such as training the women or illiterate members of the community? From experience...

    Hi, this seems like a worthwhile project. We were just wondering, with regards to the budget, why are there different levels of pay grade for the field workers? Also, does the project take into account gender and cast equality when implementing the project, such as training the women or illiterate members of the community?

    From experience with implementing pump projects, training illiterate people within the community can often instill a great sense of worth for those who lack education.

    Kind Regards,

    Idriss

    • Meera Hira-Smith of Project Well

      Hi Idriss, the service fee structure is based on the qualification, experience and the responsibilities each field worker is given. With the expansion of the project to other areas responsibilities of site selection, holding meetings with the government bodies and villagers and schools, construction work, monthly inspection of the new wel...

      Hi Idriss, the service fee structure is based on the qualification, experience and the responsibilities each field worker is given. With the expansion of the project to other areas responsibilities of site selection, holding meetings with the government bodies and villagers and schools, construction work, monthly inspection of the new wells and sudden visits to the old wells for maintenance, and training is continuous. The more the villagers are visited and drilling of information about not using the arsenic contaminated well (apparently tubewell water tastes much better than piped or chlorinated water) and practice of proper personal hygiene the overall health uplift of the communities is possible.

      You are right about involving people from the community. The paid field workers are all selected from the villages where dugwells are implemented except the awareness program manager and the project manager. And training is given to the person in the community who shows interest, common sense and has sense of responsibility. Today received the news over phone that the newly constructed wells in the new areas are working very well and people are eager to know more about the chlorination and they would take the responsibility of administering them. We are planning to have the bottled disinfectant being sold like shampoo and toothpaste from stores. The more number of bore-dugwells or borewells are constructed I think people will learn from their neighbors just like farmers learn about the farming practices from the local farmers meetings or from the media.
      Thank you very much for sharing your experience on this exchange.
      Meera

  • 2 participants | show more

    Define dugwell technicaly

    Kusum Gaur of Humana People to People India

    Dear Memebr, its a very good project but I want to know about the technology behind what you do, how you make sure the new dugwell doesn't contain Arsenic. what do you do with the old wells which are arsenic contaminated? Kusum HPPI

    Dear Memebr,

    its a very good project but I want to know about the technology behind what you do, how you make sure the new dugwell doesn't contain Arsenic.
    what do you do with the old wells which are arsenic contaminated?

    Kusum HPPI

    • Meera Hira-Smith of Project Well

      Hi Kusum, the new dugwells are shallow that tap the water from the top, unconfined aquifer that contain little (below permissible limit) or no arsenic at all. Arsenic is tested once a year of all the dugwells. this is done routinely because in summer water level goes down and observations in the past has shown that with the decrease in wa...

      Hi Kusum, the new dugwells are shallow that tap the water from the top, unconfined aquifer that contain little (below permissible limit) or no arsenic at all. Arsenic is tested once a year of all the dugwells. this is done routinely because in summer water level goes down and observations in the past has shown that with the decrease in water level arsenic concentration may go up so we make sure to monitor the well water during the summer months and the users are kept informed. The old wells are private that are used for other purposes like washing, bathing. People are informed repeatedly that they should not cook with the contaminated water for arsenic gets concentrated with boiling.

      The technology is simple. For the borewells instead of the regual small (2 inches) diameter borewell, 10 inches diameter pipes are used that are of 30 feet length and for the bore-dugwell, a dugwell of 3 feet diameter and 10 feet depth is excavated around a 20 feet length, of 10 inches diameter pvc pipe that is an insert within the dugwell. The bore-dugwell supply more water than the borewell. No matter water what, a lot depends on the availability of the water in the nearby water bodies like rivers and its tributaries seasonally.
      thanks,
      Meera

      • Kusum Gaur of Humana People to People India

        Dear Meera Hira Smith, thanks for the information. i think we should look forward for new technology from the univeristies or educational institute to find new ways for arsenic matigation. HPPI have worked on floride matigation in Rajasthan. Kusum

        Dear Meera Hira Smith,
        thanks for the information.
        i think we should look forward for new technology from the univeristies or educational institute to find new ways for arsenic matigation.
        HPPI have worked on floride matigation in Rajasthan.
        Kusum

    • Kusum Gaur of Humana People to People India

      Dear Meera Hira Smith, thanks for the information. i think we should look forward for new technology from the univeristies or educational institute to find new ways for arsenic matigation. HPPI have worked on floride matigation in Rajasthan. Kusum

      Dear Meera Hira Smith,
      thanks for the information.
      i think we should look forward for new technology from the univeristies or educational institute to find new ways for arsenic matigation.
      HPPI have worked on floride matigation in Rajasthan.
      Kusum

  • 3 participants | show more

    Chlorination

    Claire Rumpsa of Aqua Clara International

    Hi Meera, This is a really interesting project. I like the community involvement and the donation of land. My question is about the chlorination of the wells. The proposal mentions that there are some problems getting the CBGs to purchase the chlorine. What are your reasons for encouraging chlorinating the source as opposed to point o...

    Hi Meera,

    This is a really interesting project. I like the community involvement and the donation of land. My question is about the chlorination of the wells. The proposal mentions that there are some problems getting the CBGs to purchase the chlorine. What are your reasons for encouraging chlorinating the source as opposed to point of use water treatment?

    Best wishes,
    Claire
    Aqua Clara International

    • Meera Hira-Smith of Project Well

      Hi Claire, You will not believe this. There are some communities who request the visiting field worker, who delivers the chlorine based theoline, not to apply the disinfectant because of the odor. Now we are taking a stand that a written letter will be given to each community stating that if anybody falls sick due to avoiding the applica...

      Hi Claire,

      You will not believe this. There are some communities who request the visiting field worker, who delivers the chlorine based theoline, not to apply the disinfectant because of the odor. Now we are taking a stand that a written letter will be given to each community stating that if anybody falls sick due to avoiding the application of theoline then the implementer will not be blamed. We do not encourage drinking the dugwell water without chlorination. Hence we do not believe that individual family would chlorinate their own water at the point of use until the concept of the importance of bacteria free water is instilled in them. Repeated village meetings and awareness programs are ongoing including in schools. Our man power is small since we started from scratch as a pilot program hence the awareness programs are going a bit slow but we are determined to increase its pace.
      Thank you
      Meera

      • Rajesh Shah of Blue Planet Network

        I think Claire and others are advocating other point-of-use filters. Point-of-use chlorination is not a good idea. BSF is an obvious choice, esp. since i feel that the matka filters to remove iron can easily be adapted to create the sand layers. Here is info on Anil Laul's design of the ...

        I think Claire and others are advocating other point-of-use filters. Point-of-use chlorination is not a good idea.

        BSF is an obvious choice, esp. since i feel that the matka filters to remove iron can easily be adapted to create the sand layers.

        Here is info on Anil Laul's design of the common man's traditional filter.
        It was proposed at the world water forum.

        • Meera Hira-Smith of Project Well

          Thanks Rajesh for the info of BSF. We will look into this system and may try a few pilot tests. Meera

          Thanks Rajesh for the info of BSF. We will look into this system and may try a few pilot tests.
          Meera

      • Meera Hira-Smith of Project Well

        Thanks Rajesh for the info of BSF. We will look into this system and may try a few pilot tests. Meera

        Thanks Rajesh for the info of BSF. We will look into this system and may try a few pilot tests.
        Meera

    • Rajesh Shah of Blue Planet Network

      I think Claire and others are advocating other point-of-use filters. Point-of-use chlorination is not a good idea. BSF is an obvious choice, esp. since i feel that the matka filters to remove iron can easily be adapted to create the sand layers. Here is info on Anil Laul's design of the ...

      I think Claire and others are advocating other point-of-use filters. Point-of-use chlorination is not a good idea.

      BSF is an obvious choice, esp. since i feel that the matka filters to remove iron can easily be adapted to create the sand layers.

      Here is info on Anil Laul's design of the common man's traditional filter.
      It was proposed at the world water forum.

      • Meera Hira-Smith of Project Well

        Thanks Rajesh for the info of BSF. We will look into this system and may try a few pilot tests. Meera

        Thanks Rajesh for the info of BSF. We will look into this system and may try a few pilot tests.
        Meera

    • Meera Hira-Smith of Project Well

      Thanks Rajesh for the info of BSF. We will look into this system and may try a few pilot tests. Meera

      Thanks Rajesh for the info of BSF. We will look into this system and may try a few pilot tests.
      Meera

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  • Rating: 8

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    This is a worthwhile project. Seems like you are trying to address the problem of chlorination although this is still a concern, maybe you could look into educating the communities on household treatment such as ceramic filters, SODIS or BSF which do not affect taste. As health is not always the best motivating factor, surveys or focus groups could be used to identify the best factors to use when promoting chlorine. Hope your project goes well.

  • Rating: 8

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    This Project Well proposal focuses on constructing modified borewells and dugwells along with public education. The proposal is very well planned with good monitoring and oversight procedures. It is clear that the project is much needed in the area that Project Well are working as knowledge of the dangers of drinking arsenic and bacteria contaminated water is limited. The public health meetings on the dangers of drinking arsenic contaminated water and related personal hygiene are crucial to the success of the program.

    There are several strengths of the proposal. Project Well have been able to demonstrate detailed tracking and program adjustment to date and this provides a good baseline of knowledge for future projects. The technology is appropriate for the specific arsenic problems that exist as they wells are rainwater fed. Project Well have made modifications to the technology based upon their implementation experience which should further increase its applicability. There is good community participation in the program through the donation of the site and the formation of the Community Based Groups (CBG).

    The issue of chlorination of the wells is certainly problematic as it has been shown that the local people do not like the taste and smell of chlorinated water. With this in mind, I would question whether chlorinating the wells is the most appropriate way of treating the drinking water. Perhaps boiling or filtration or some other point of use technology may be more readily accepted.

    The follow up testing and revisits to the well are regular and rigorous which should help identify any issues early and enable action to be taken quickly should it be necessary. There is a good local staff structure in place and Project Well have planned for a good economy of scale by sharing staff across a number of projects.

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  • Rating: 9

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    Hope the momentum continues to increase and the work on increased acceptance and use across all the projects starts paying dividends.

  • Rating: 8

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    For disinfection, SODIS (Solar Disinfection) may be promoted. This method controls atleast 99% of the bacteria. The details could be seen in http://www.sodis.ch/methode/index_EN

    AR. Natarajan