INDIA: Salesian Missions Clean Water Initiative brings water to village residents
(MissionNewswire) Gangabai Akolkar, a 55-year-old resident of Marathwadi village, is relieved she no longer has to search for water thanks to a well project supported by the Salesian Missions “Clean Water Initiative” that is bringing water to her village. Three months ago, she had to walk for 2.5 kilometers to fetch water for her family. The project was implemented by local Salesian missionaries through Bosco Gramin Vikas Kendra (BGVK).
Akolkar was not alone in her search for water. Successive years of hardly any rainfall in the villages of Marathwadi and Kolhewadi, in the districts of Ahmednagar and Beed, had made the life of villagers miserable. Lack of water had changed the natural landscape of the villages. Agricultural productivity was going down, cattle were not producing enough milk, the groundwater table was declining, people were migrating and children were suffering.
To improve water security and water management, BGVK focused on facilitating groundwater recharge and retention to improve soil moisture, de-silting the canal-bed, increasing green cover and laying a pipeline to the village. BGVK also completed an excavation of two dams for de-silting and recharging village wells as well as constructing two drinking water tanks of 10,000-liter capacity each. The local villagers provided the technical support and manual labor, while Salesian Missions provided the financial support.
“Water for drinking and irrigation is a lifeline to people in the villages. This project is our small effort to help people improve health and income and thus lead a better quality of life,” says Father Rolvin D’Mello, executive director of Don Bosco Development Society.
This project has benefited 1,200 people in two villages and saved at least 1,000 hours each day collectively for people out searching for water. It has also made the life of young girls and women in the villages more comfortable as they traditionally have the primary responsibility of finding water for their families.
With more than 1.2 billion people, India’s growing population is putting a severe strain on the country’s natural resources. According to Water.org, close to 77 million people do not have access to safe, clean water and 769 million have no sanitation services. Most water sources throughout the country are contaminated by sewage and agricultural runoff.
While India has made some progress in the supply of safe water, there remain gross disparities in safe water access across the country. The World Bank estimates that 21 percent of communicable diseases in India are related to unsafe water with diarrhea alone causing more than 1,600 deaths daily. Access to proper sanitation is extremely poor, particularly in rural areas where only 14 percent of the population has access to a latrine. In addition, hand washing is not commonplace, which leads to an increase in the spread of disease.
Salesian missionaries across India are dedicated to ensuring that access to safe water is a priority in Salesian-run programs and schools and in the communities in which they operate.
The project was one of several highlighted on the Salesian Missions website that needed funding. To see the full list, go to SalesianMissions.org/projects.
To give to the Clean Water Initiative, go to SalesianMissions.org/water.
Salesian Missions – Clean Water Initiative
Water.org – India
World Bank – India