Water crisis Villagers find their own way to manage water
With water bodies drying up due to intense heat across the state at least three villages- one in Bundelkhand and two in Malwa region in Madhya Pradesh show how villagers can sustain their life by managing water on their own with no government help coming their way.
About 45 km from Damoh district headquarters in Bundelkhand region is Dhauraj village panchayat under Batiagarh block, with a population of about 2400. While most of villages in the region are facing acute water crisis this village has a tag of ‘water problem free village’.
As per village sarpanch Hakam Singh, the village was dependent on three hand pumps and two wells till 15 years back. During every summer season these sources of water went dry and villagers, mostly women, had to trek about two kilometres to fetch water from a well in an agriculture field.
It was when a villager Madhav Singh Thakur decided to have a borewell. He also started giving water to villagers voluntarily through plastic pipes. Now, the village has at least six borewells which provide water to the entire village. Since those supplying water incur expenses on electricity charges each of them is given 50 kg of wheat every year under a barter system. They never demand any money, said the sarpanch.
The sarpanch said the public health engineering department (PHE) of MP government had recently sanctioned laying of water pipeline up to the village but nobody knew when they would get water from the department.
Madhav Singh said he got the idea of having the borewell and supply of water through plastic pipes from some residents of Patan town who had adopted the system. Of course, the cost of pipe had to be borne by the person getting water.
“We supply water for an hour in the morning and the evening. But those who are poor are not supposed to pay even wheat to us”, said Madhav.
He said it was not only supply of water but also villagers took care of recharging the borewells by digging pits near borewells for storage of rainwater. A dam about 1.5 kilometres away also helped in recharge of the borewells.
Parvati Thakur, a housewife, said, “We are lucky to have good people in our village who take care of us.”
In Alirajpur district in Malwa region, two villages Sugat and Chameli both situated on hillocks are badly dependent on the river flowing between the two hillocks, for drinking water.
However, during summers the river go dry and here starts the painstaking efforts of the villagers to get water from a well situated on the riverbed.
Gul Singh of Sugat village said, “Since the two villages are in the submerged area of Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) the government has left us on the God’s mercy as far as availability of water is concerned for us.”
He said the two villages had about 300 donkeys and these were of a great help during summers. “We go down to the well, fill cans with water and with the help of donkeys we bring water to the villages”, he added.
Gul Singh said, “The two villages have been fetching water during summers in this way for the past 5 generations.”
Jhengabai of Chameli village said, “We reach the wells about 3 in the morning and fetch water up to about 10 am before we go out of the village for our work.”
Collector, Alirajpur Surabhi Gupta said, “I will look into the problems the villages are facing.”