Creating water literacy

Creating water literacy

WHERE THERE’S A WILL: Students of the government school at Hebballi have understood the importance of rainwater harvesting.

Change has come to the village in the form of water meters and taps installed in every house. This has ensured that excess water doesn’t go a waste. Also, the water they use has been billed; and all the payments made on time. Awareness has been created among one and all about water conservation.

When water meters were installed for the first time at Kinnigoli in Dakshina Kannada district, the Scheduled caste/tribe colonies were exempt from the meters. Even in Chitradurga’s Hebballi, there was some initial opposition to the same. But, thanks to the intervention of Sanehalli’s Panditaradhya Shivacharya swamiji, the problem was resolved.

The present project at Hebballi was implemented by Danida’s grants. At least 15 per cent of the money was raised by residents. A village water  committee has been formed to ensure proper implementation of the project.

There are 250 houses in Hebballi, which has a population of 1,700 people. Every house has been installed with a tap and a meter. A fee of Rs 50-Rs 80 is collected from every house. Drinking water is supplied to homes by way of installation of borewells on the outskirts of villages. The tank on the outskirts has been rejuvenated with the help of the Zilla Panchayat.

“Residents of one house might use on an average 8,000 litres of water every month. This means a fee of Rs 30. For water used beyond this, an additional fee of Rs five for every litre is collected. If the bill is not paid on time, the tap gets locked. Every month, funds in the range of Rs 6,000 to Rs 8,000 gets collected. This is used for development activities in the village. Thanks to the meters, the water in the village is not going waste. Neither has there been a crisis of any sort,” explains committee member S Umeshaiah. The government higher primary school on the outskirts of Hebballi is also working towards creating water awareness. A rainwater harvesting facility has been implemented in the school premises by Arghyam, a charitable foundation working in the water sector from 2005, and Georain Water Board. Today, this school has become a model in rainwater harvesting. Arghyam has provided Rs 1.35 lakh towards the same.

A 17,500-litre capacity tank has been constructed inside the classroom to collect rainwater falling off the roof of the school.

This has also reduced room temperatures in the school by at least two degrees. “After conserving rain water, there has been no water problem in the school. We use the same water for the implementation of the midday meal scheme too,” explains Headmaster S Shivalingamurthy.

Five experts from Mumbai’s Ratan Tata Trust visited the Hebballi school and expressed satisfaction over the implementation of the project. They said a similar project would be implemented  in Gujarat’s government schools.

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