plan 294Arsenic Safe Drinking Water: Nadia – Chakdah Set5 F (10)


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.


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.


Saguna, Chakdah, Nadia, West Bengal, India


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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.

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
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, ). 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.


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


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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    This one will inherit all the comments and decisions that this application gets.

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