Access to Water - A Basic Human Right
Addressing the Issues of Hunger, Health and Poverty in Rural India
Bhimabai, aged 55 years has been living in Khoch since she married Jabha at the age of 12. She spends 4 hours each day fetching water from the unused Wagh Dam - she has to make 5 – 6 rounds to the Dam daily as she cannot carry more that two pots at a time. Unable to make ends meet due to the water crisis, her only son has migrated to Thane, a suburb of Mumbai leaving her, her husband who is much older and her very old mother in law to fend for themselves. They have a small patch of land where they grow paddy and one small crop of vegetables but cannot use the land to do full time farming due to the extreme water shortage. In the dry season, they look for any daily wage labour work (usually construction) that can come their way. Bhimabai feels helpless and frustrated as she can see the Wagh Dam, but has to travel far to access its water, and is still unable to properly use it on the family land to lead a decent life. She is constantly tired and has developed numerous health issues over so many years of drudgery.
Khoch and Poshera are two tribal villages in Jawhar, Palghar District, Maharashtra. They have a population of around 3200 people, and are located near the Wagh Dam which is a perennial source of water. Although they are located so close to the Dam, there is a severe problem of water access, due to which several issues arise:
- Migration - Farmers can only cultivate a single crop in a year, since they depend wholly on rainfall for agriculture. They are then forced to migrate to nearby towns and cities and work as daily labour on construction sites for the rest of the 7-8 months of the year.
- Health - There is a very high rate of skin diseases like scabies due to the unavailability of water for bathing and sanitary use.
- Drudgery - Women are forced to carry pots of water on their heads and walk close to 5 km per day through rough, stony terrain to bring water to the village from the nearby Wagh Dam.
Raah Foundation is a NonProfit working in the Jawhar - Mokhada tribal belt, Palghar District, Maharashtra. They have worked with over 15000 tribals in this belt over the last five years, and are currently looking for funding to address the above problem.
Raah Foundation proposes the following as a sustainable solution:
- Building a Pipeline - All that is needed to change the life of over 3000 people is a pipeline 9,300 feet long built from the dam to the different hamlets in the two villages. A pump will be installed near the dam which will draw water from the dam and the pipeline will supply water, and taps will be installed at strategic points across the villages.
- Training - Capacity building and long term support to the farmers on how to use the water to grow multiple year-round crops which require less water for a sustainable income through the year and lead a happy, healthy and honourable life in their own village.
The total project budget is INR 6,00,000 ($9300) for over 600 families.
You can support one family of 5-6 individuals with as little as INR 1000 ($15).