People get water between 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. without having to depend on power supply

The mini power pump water project implemented at Sakkimangalam, 10 km away from the city, is yet to get an electricity connection. But, for the last one week the project is running thanks to the solar-powered mini power pump water scheme introduced by the Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage (TWAD) Board.

The water scheme has been executed at a cost of Rs. 6.50 lakh at LKB Nagar, one of the 15 habitations in the panchayat, which comes under the Madurai East Panchayat union. LKB Nagar is one of the habitations that were affected by Japanese Encephalitis/Acute Encephalitis Syndrome in the district.

“We had four cases of Japanese Encephalitis in LKB Nagar and one girl died few months back,” says the Sakkimangalam Panchayat president, Rahamath Subahathullah.

Access to safe drinking water in the affected area was one among the various public health activities to contain Japanese Encephalitis. “We were given sanction for two solar-powered mini power pump water scheme. One is in Sakkimangalam and the other has been planned at the Samathuvapuram in Sivarakottai,” said Executive Engineer, Rural Water Scheme, TWAD Board, S. Maruthupandian.

The target beneficiaries of the project were people belonging to Solaga community, who have been demanding Scheduled Tribe status for years. Since, no potential groundwater source is available near their colony, the borewell was sunk near the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) Centre some 250 feet away. Two huge solar panels were put up and a submersible pump was fitted. “The 1.6 kilowatt-motor can pump 12,000 litres of water a day. Water is being pumped into a huge plastic tank put up at the colony for the benefit of the affected people,” he said.

L. Muniyandi, member of ward 6, who also belongs to the Solaga community, said people were getting water throughout the day. “The Collector had promised us clean source of water when our people were affected by Japanese Encephalitis,” he said.

Sensor at work

A sensor has been provided in the tank and this cuts off power connection to the motor pump automatically when the water reaches the brim. Whenever water level in the tank goes down, the motor runs automatically. “In this process, the people can get water between 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. without having to depend on power from the electricity department. However, we will provide a power backup for the scheme so that the motor can also be used at night,” Assistant Engineer (TWAD Board), M. Ganesh, said.

The project will soon be handed over to the Sakkimangalam panchayat.

The panchayat has different water projects to cater to its 15 habitations and it has been footing a monthly electricity bill of around Rs. 55,000. The president is thankful to TWAD Board officials as they have agreed to give a separate connection that will facilitate the motor pump to supply water to the existing overhead tank too. “Whenever the tank is full and the motor is idle, the solar power can be tapped and water pumped to the nearby overhead tank that caters to the whole of LKB Nagar, and this way the panchayat can save on power bills,” she said.

Mr. Maruthupandian said that the ICDS centre also can benefit as the excess electricity generated can be diverted to power fans and lights at the centre.