Environmental Protection Group to be formed in each panchayat
Krishnagiri: The UNICEF-supported pilot project on community-based `Water Quality Monitoring System' will be launched in Krishnagiri district in the first week of September.
With supply of safe drinking water to the habitations fairly covered, there is a need for involvement of community-based water monitoring and sanitary surveillance to prevent waterborne diseases.
"Faecal contamination of water is a major problem throughout the country, including Tamil Nadu, which is caused mainly due to open defecation and poor maintenance of water sources. Krishnagiri was selected for this project as part of the UNICEF-supported Child-Friendly Village Planning, which is underway.
The main objective of this pilot project is to ensure that families living in 15 village panchayats in Krishnagiri block have easy access to safe and protective environment in partnership with local bodies, community-based organisations, self-help groups and non-governmental organisations," the Project Officer, Water and Sanitation, A. Devaraj, told The Hindu .
To begin with, an Environmental Protection Group (EPG) would be formed in each panchayat. The EPG would undertake surveillance of water and sanitation in respective panchayats.
The project includes hardware components, including repair of hand pumps and construction of toilets and software components, including training and orientation programme for SHGs and other key stakeholders.
With people unable to comprehend sanitation with ailments, SHGs would be trained on various aspects of water and sanitation and diseases that spread due to poor water and sanitation.
They would also be trained on maintenance of hand pumps and solar disinfectant system of drinking water, Mr. Devaraj added.
In order to create awareness among the community on handling of drinking water, water-testing kits would be given to each panchayat to identify faecal contamination in water. A bottle with hydrogen sulphide strip will be filled with drinking water till the fill line. If the colour changes to black after 24 hours and emanates a foul smell, it is contaminated with faecal matter. "The water is fit for drinking purpose if there is no colour change." The members would ascertain the reasons behind the contamination of water and would undertake surveillance on infrastructure related to water supply systems. This includes 110 overhead tanks, 882 public fountains, 236 hand pumps and 39 open wells.
Training for stakeholders, including SHGs, village-level monitoring committees and NGOs will commence in the first week of September.