In Bagepalli, villagers drink rainwater

In Bagepalli, villagers drink rainwater

Water management

Precious source: Rainwater is so precious in Bagepalli that it is not used even to wash hands after having food. DH photos

Their only source of water being the groundwater with high fluoride  content, the residents of Bagepalli, which is about 100 kilometres from Bangalore, suffer from dental and skeletal fluorosis that causes yellow deposits, decay of teeth, and joint pains among elders.

With the help of the government drinking water project implemented by an NGO, the villagers are happy to have their own rainwater harvesting system. The RWH system has rainwater collected from rooftop, which is passed through an indigenous filtering process, stored in a sealed underground sump, and pumped out using a hand equipment. “We do not use rainwater even for washing our hands after having food,” says Krishnappa, a hairdresser in Marganagunte village. Good drinking water is a precious commodity here, which is not wasted or easily shared with others,” he added.

Most of the villagers around Bagepalli, who are farmers, have been drinking fluoride-high water for ages and have been suffering from bone ailments.

Sixty-five-year-old Devirama says that ever since the drinking water project was implemented, her joint pain has reduced. “We do not like borewell water anymore, as it is like some bitter syrup for us; it is hard to digest borewell water now, as we have got used to drinking rainwater,” she says.

Umadevi says the ‘dal’ in the sambar would never cook properly in the borewell water with high fluoride content. But ever since she started using rainwater for cooking, “dal gets cooked well, even making the sambar tastier”.

It is not that these villagers are unaware about the drinking water projects in Bangalore. Rajendra Prasad, who owns a garment shop, reads the newspaper every day.

“No matter how many stages of Cauvery water projects come up, there will be scarcity of water in Bangalore. Rainwater is the only source to tackle water shortage,” he added.

De-flourination plant

Although there is a de-flourination plant at Yallampalli village, which costs Rs eight to nine lakh, villagers were able to use it only recently.  “To purify one glass of fluoride of water, four glasses of water gets wasted in a de-fluorination plant. If there is no electricity, villagers do not get any drinking water. But in rainwater drinking project, water does not get wasted and needs no power to filter it,” said Raghunath, project co-ordinator, BAIF, BIRD-K project.

He said the government would have to spend a few lakhs of rupees to implement the project in a village of 500 families, instead of wasting money on de-flourination plant, he added.

The rainwater drinking project was undertaken by Suchetana Drinking Water Project funded by both the Centre and the State government, which was implemented by BAIF Institute for Rural Development, (BIRD-K). The project was implemented in Bagepalli, Sira, Pavagad and Mundargi taluks in the State.

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