In the afternoon we travelled (yes more bumpy roads) to the lovely village of Kumhar in Datia to see a village that WaterAid have been working in for the past three years and who have been managing their own supply for nearly a year.
The President of the Water & Sanitation Committee quite openly admitted that before WaterAid came along the provision for water and sanitation was negligible - there was no drainage and the topography tended to cause pools of stagnant water to form attracting Mosquitos. The village is also in a drought area so is very susceptible to water shortages and all of these things had to be taken into account for the village.
WaterAid firstly engaged with the community about hygiene and the connection with water, and trained two teachers who could do school education and also household level interaction. This was the first step towards a behavioural shift that allows the new systems to function. They also from a practical point of view taught operation and maintenance to the villagers so they could be self sufficient going forwards.
So now for the engineering for those of you that are inclined towards such things....
Rainwater harvesting systems were put in place on all village buildings in order to capture the vital source of water. This runs to a well where a submersible pump takes it up the hill to main storage tank - this creates capacity in the system for times when the electricity may fail due to frequent power cuts. This tank gravity feeds to village and will therefore work even when the pump isn't running. It also takes water from two wells (dual supply) so that the availability of water is maximised. I've attached a schematic which the village have painted on the pump house wall - which by the way is a brilliant way to overcome the problem of as-built drawings!
So far 57 properties have piped water and 77 toilets have been installed in the village and they are hoping to achieve 100% very shortly.
Every house on the system pays 50 rupees (about 75p) a month into a fund to pay the local man who operates and maintains the pump.
So this afternoon for me wasn't about the human face of water issues - although that was clear too - it was about practical sound engineering solutions to the specific issues faced by the village and the need for individual plans to suit the village's need.
Check back for more updates soon!