Residents of seven districts get potable water round the clock

Consumption of safe and potable drinking water has become a reality for residents of seven districts of the State, a change from the fluoride-contaminated water that had been imbibing.

A drinking water project, funded by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) in Bijapur, Davangere, Gadag, Tumkur, Chitradurga, Mandya and Raichur has made drinking water shortage a thing of the past in 140 villages of the seven districts. Today, drinking water is available round the clock in villages.

The project is being implemented on PPP model by SMAAT India Private Ltd., a Hyderabad-based firm and the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) Department of the State. Both the private firm and the RDPR are sharing the cost equally. NABARD granted 6.3 crore to the private firm to implement the project for 10 years.

NABARD Chief General Manager G.R. Chintala told The Hindu that the purpose of the project is to ensure supply of clean and potable drinking water to all villages of all seven districts.

“Over 30 per cent of the people of the selected districts were consuming non-potable or chemically contaminated water and in many villages. The fluoride content is more than five times the permissible limit which is not suitable for drinking purpose,” Mr. Chintala said.

Officials of the SMAAT said they are charging 20 paise a litre of water and village residents have to buy daily for consumption of potable drinking water. The people have been collecting water in cans and vessels as per their requirement. Minimum requirement for a family per day is 20 litres (drinking and cooking),” he said.

The firm will handover the project to the RDPR after 10 years. It will charge 20 paise a litre for the first three years, 30 paise for the next three years and 40 paise in the last four years of the project.

The firm has installed 180 plants equipped with water purification technology (reverse osmosis-RO).

Over five lakh people residing in 140 villages in seven districts are benefiting from the project.

Depending on the village population, the firm has installed 500, 1,000, 2,000, and 4,000 litres-capacity plants in villages identified by the RDPR. The cost of each plant ranges from Rs. 2.78 lakh to Rs. 5.78 lakh.

Benefits trickle in

“Slowly and steadily, village residents are showing interest in consuming clean and potable drinking water from our plants. In the last few months, the spread of water-borne diseases and even absenteeism among schoolchildren have reduced. We are creating awareness among the people about ill-health caused by consuming contaminated water,” officials of the private firm said.