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Despite crisis, no water wars in Golapada village

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Women queue up for drawing water in Galapada village in Angul district.
Women queue up for drawing water in Galapada village in Angul district.

Satyasundar Barik

People have an unwritten understanding for water distribution

GALAPADA (ANGUL): Women folks of this village know exactly how much water they will fetch from the village tubewells. Under constant stress of severe water scarcity, habitants of Galapada in Angul district have developed an unwritten understanding for rational distribution of water this summer.

At a time when water crisis is causing several social disputes in villages of Orissa, Galapada villagers have presented a different model to deal with the situation.

Angul is perpetually a water scarce zone. Influx of industrial projects has made the water woes worse.

“Having experienced water stress condition for ages, we know how precious water is during summer. The village has around 250 households. We know which household consumes how much water. Accordingly, women members of those families have been advised not to draw more water than their allotted quota,” Jayakrushna Behera said.

Three tubewells

The village has three tubewells, of which one had gone defunct. The two existing tubewells are not enough to meet the water requirement of villagers.

“Although an industrial house has made provisions to supply water through pipes, it has proved to be useless. Villagers cannot depend on the project to get their water requirement,” Mr. Behera said. The water being supplied was not even treated, he alleged. It is not that villagers have developed the understanding in one season. Earlier when there was no tubewell and piped water supply, they had struck a novel idea to live on limited available water resource.

“One deep open well was dug inside our village pond. We had appointed a person who used to guard the well through out the day. Every family used to be given daily water quota as per its size. In the morning and evening, they were allowed to draw buckets of water allotted to them,” Ajay Kumar Jena, a local sarpanch, said.

He said, “for four months during summer, we were never allowing water scarcity to create mistrust and tension among us.”

Galapada may be an exception, but villagers in Angul district and across Western Orissa have found very difficult to tide over water crisis. The situation is likely to aggravate further as industries are depending on ground water to meet their requirement. As a result the water table is fast falling.

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