Imagine a day without running water at home! The entire day’s schedule is bound to get disturbed, isn’t it? In order to make piped water normal for all, WaterAid India along with the government of India initiated a multi village piped water scheme in Mardanpur, Madhya Pradesh.
While 16% of India’s rural families have access to piped water, a majority of the population still depends on handpumps, borewells, and water tankers to address their daily need of water. With the vision to provide piped water to at least 50% of the rural population, the government initiated a multi village piped water scheme. The scheme aims to provide household tap connection in its project villages, and make water accessible for all.
The scheme is being implemented in two blocks of Mardanpur, namely Budhni and Narsullahganj of Sehore district in Madhya Pradesh. It is covering 14 panchayats (village councils) of Budhni block: 182 villages in Budhni itself, and 118 villages in Narsullahganj. Additionally, in Budhni, 101 water tanks have been constructed so far for better supply of water at the household level.
During a detailed interaction with the villagers, some key insights came to light:
- The local members of water committees were not even aware of the scheme.
- Participation from the water committees was very low.
- Meetings of water committees were not regularly taking place.
- Taps were not installed in some villages, resulting in huge wastage of water.
- Efforts were not made to create awareness about the scheme with Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) material.
In order to address the above concerns, various activities were held to create awareness amongst the committee members. The aim was to initiate a dialogue between them and with them for effective implementation of the scheme. The committee members were soon informed about water quality issues with the help of IEC material in the 14 panchayats. The interventions resulted in restructuring the committees in some of the villages.
As the dialogue continued, the villagers voiced their concerns in the Gram Sabha, addressing the issues related to the implementation of the scheme. Steadily, it resulted in positive steps like:
Hence, the interventions resulted in some very positive impacts. Hundreds of households now have access to piped water, and the water committees are now advocating for extension of piped water scheme in four other panchayats. While the village level committees became functional, the villagers soon became more aware of their rights and entitlements. The community structures have been built in such a way that the villagers are now able to address their problems on their own.