75 years of people’s power: How Yerlapady in Karnataka sourced funds to manage grey water

The village made efficient use of MGNREGS funds to construct soak pits

By Sushmita Sengupta, Swati Bhatia, Ravi Kumar
Published: Sunday 14 August 2022
Sourcing funds to manage grey water

Newly constructed soak pit under Jal Jeevan Mission (Photo: Ravi Kumar, CSE)

India marks 75 years of her independence August 15, 2022. In these 75 years, it has become a fully-functional democracy.

A democracy is all about the power of the people. Down To Earth celebrates the power of the people of India by presenting a collection of 10 villages and districts across India where people have worked to radically improve their lot through better solutions for drinking water and sanitation.

Yerlapady village in Karkala taluk of Udupi district has 4,712 inhabitants and 588 households. Around 50 per cent of its population falls in the Below Poverty Level (BPL) category.

Under the Jal Jeevan Mission, every household in the village is provided with a functional household tap for drinking water. Provision of taps results in higher discharge of grey water.

The grey water generated used to be disposed of into the open, causing water stagnation and incidences of diseases such as malaria and dengue.

The Gram Panchayats have constructed soak pits for individual Below Poverty Line (BPL) and select Above Poverty Line (APL) households to manage the grey water in situ.

The construction of soak pits was undertaken by utilising funds under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

The change

Above: Radha, a beneficary of a soak pit constructed under MGNREGS, in Yerlapady village The Gram Panchayat constructed 448 individual soak pits in BPL houses by 2021 before the monsoon. As a first step, Gram Sabha meetings were held once a month to raise awareness on management of grey water through soak pits.

The remaining 140 households that did not go for the construction of soak pits were already using their grey water for irrigating their kitchen gardens. The previous monsoon did not see any waterlogging.

Operation and maintenance

The soak pits are newly constructed. The cleaning of the pits will be the responsibility of individual house owners.

ASHA worker Ananthamathi and her family, beneficiaries of individual soak pits in Yerlapady village (Photo: Ravi Kumar, CSE)

Radha, Yeralpady gram panchayat I am the beneficiary of the soak pit constructed under MGNREGS. I am 43-years-old and have lived in Yeralapady for 18 years with my husband and a son. The grey water before construction of the soak pit was sent to the coconut tree where it accumulated, causing overflow in the area. I attended the Gram Sabha meeting that is held once a month in the Panchayat. In one of the meetings the Panchayat members and officers explained about the construction of soak pits for households facing issues with grey water. I was the first to accept the suggestion. I finished construction of the soak pit in November 2020.

The cost of construction was Rs 14,000, paid in two installments. Currently, there is no grey-water stagnation and the odour has reduced significantly around my house.

—Radha, Yeralpady Gram Panchayat

Soak pit model implemented under MGNREGS

This is a part of Water Compendium published by the Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi

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