Right treatment

Jhabua hostels get water relief

Published: Tuesday 15 August 2006

-- (Credit: Kirtiman Awasthi / CSE)In collaboration with ngos, unicef has designed a unique greywater recycling pilot project for water-scarce hostels in Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh.

The project sanctions hand pumps to draw underground water, and put in place rooftop water-harvesting and greywater reuse systems. The idea is to improve school sanitation and reduce the demand for fresh water.

Pilot projects have already proved successful. "The pilot project has come as a welcome relief for students who previously had to defecate in the open," says Sam Godfrey, project officer, water and environmental sanitation, unicef.

Jhabua's groundwater has high levels of fluoride. To solve this problem, fluoridated groundwater is drawn through hand pumps and mixed with normal water to make it drinkable and fit for use in the kitchen. During monsoons, water is collected through rooftop water harvesting and wells. The water used in kitchens and bathrooms is treated and reused for bathing, washing, clean toilets, mopping and flushing.

An average of 2,000 litres of greywater is treated every day per project. Treatment includes an equalisation-cum-settling tank and filtration units comprising locally available filtering material and storage tanks with baffles for aeration. The system is low-cost, involving about Rs 22,000.

The project was first implemented at a boarding school in Kalidevi village followed by boarding schools in Kokawad and Umerkote. unicef thereafter came out with water-safety plans comprising risk assessment and risk management. Under the risk-assessment component, the plan encourages students to monitor the quality of treated greywater.

In the risk-management programme, different colours are given to raw greywater and treated raw water for easy handling of the system by students and teachers themselves.

Water safety clubs comprising students and teachers have also been created. These projects have led to an increase in school attendance. unicef is planning to implement similar projects in other drought-prone districts of Madhya Pradesh.

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