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July 15, 2018: Keonjhar, Odisha, India
Today, the community of Lahanda in Keonjhar, Odisha commissioned a water system delivering safe drinking water on tap to 206 residents. The community is treating the water using an invention called the Hydrodoser, introduced by New York State nonprofit AguaClara Reach in partnership with Odisha-based NGO Gram Vikas. The Hydrodoser is a gravity-based, sensor-and-pump-free technology that delivers an accurate amount of chlorine to disinfect water, making it safe for human consumption. The system automatically turns on and off with the water supply, and is made from inexpensive materials including PVC pipes and sheets, flexible tubes, and HDPE drums. The community has selected four operators to take turns carrying out the daily operation and maintenance. For a monthly tariff of Rs. 70 (1 USD) per household, each community member will receive 70 liters of water per day.
Gram Vikas has integrated the Hydrodoser into a holistic water and sanitation initiative in the village of Lahanda. They assisted each household in building a bathroom including a toilet with running water, as well as a tap stand for other household purposes. Many households have also opted to construct a shower room. These additional facilities help ensure that the entire village will be able to take full advantage of the reliable and safe water supply. The project work was supported by the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Department of Odisha, Tata Sponge Iron Limited, and the Tata Cornell Institute.
The inspiration for the Hydrodoser came from over two years of experience implementing AguaClara technologies in the state of Jharkhand. In 2013, AguaClara Reach – then AguaClara LLC, a social enterprise spun out of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, and winner of Best for the World Overall in 2015 and 2017 – spearheaded the deployment of its Enclosed Stacked Rapid Sand (EStaRS) Filters in two villages in the state. The EStarS Filters were meant to be simple enough for local operators to run, while wasting 80% less water and requiring 80% less area to build than the conventional rapid sand filter. An early version of the Hydrodoser was installed alongside the EStarS Filters and also as a stand-alone unit in two other villages where filtration of the water was not required.
“While we were very excited about the potential for the EStaRS, we recognized that in several cases, only disinfection of the supply water was required,” says Maysoon Sharif, Executive Director of AguaClara Reach. While working in Jharkhand, Ms. Sharif recognized the benefit the disinfection component held on its own. “We noticed that with a few simple tweaks, we could make the chemical disinfection portion easier to install and operate, giving rise to the Hydrodoser you see installed in Lahanda.”
The work is not yet done for AguaClara Reach and Gram Vikas. Following the success of the Hydrodoser installation in Lahanda, the two organizations are working to secure funding to deploy at least sixty of these units in the communities in Odisha that need it most.
AguaClara Reach is a New York state nonprofit (501(c)3) that seeks to transform lives through the provision of safe, reliable drinking water on tap. AguaClara works with global partners in the field, as well as the AguaClara research program at Cornell University, to create solutions that run the gamut of municipal-scale water treatment needs. Together they empower communities to independently own and operate long-term solutions to their clean water needs. Since 2005, 17 AguaClara plants have been built in Honduran and Nicaraguan towns, serving 70,000 people, and 3 village-scale plants have been built in India, serving 2,600 people.
For more information, visit http://aguaclarareach.org
Gram Vikas, which literally translates to “Village Development”, has been working for the well-being of tribal and marginalized communities in inaccessible rural areas for over 35 years. Gram Vikas strives to promote sustainable, socially inclusive and gender equitable practices amongst these communities, thus enabling them to take control over their lives and reach a heightened sense of empowerment.
Gram Vikas operates through its flagship model, titled “Movement and Action Network for Transformation of Rural Areas (MANTRA)”, which has been in operation since 2004. The major tenets of this model include 100% inclusion of the target communities, creation of self-managed community institutions, focus on ensuring social and gender equity, cost sharing, and sustainability of the interventions implemented.
For more information, visit http://gramvikas.org