World Water Day 2023: Ladana in Rajasthan made conjunctive use of ground, surface sources to solve its scarcity problem

The village dug three wells and constructed an overhead tank that can store both groud and surface water

By Sushmita Sengupta, Swati Bhatia, Vivek Kumar Sah
Published: Wednesday 22 March 2023
Ladana, Rajasthan: Northern Plains and central highlands

This was first published in Big change is possible: Best practices in water supply and sanitation in India

Ladana village (Phagi tehsil) in semi-arid Jaipur district sees high temperatures and evaporation loss during peak summers. Fighting for a clean and regular supply of water has been a part of life in this village for years.

Villagers here depended on a baori, or step well, located near the village temple. They collected water in earthen pots until the well became contaminated due to accumulation of waste or, occasionally, animal corpses in well-water.

The water source moved to a nearby seasonal stream, which runs along two sides of the village. From the centre of the village any point of the stream is just one km away. But the stream dries up in summers, and the villagers would have to walk to distant villages to collect water from open wells.

Ganga Sagar talab in Ladana village, Phagi block, Jaipur (Vivek Kumar Sah,)

The change

Until 2016, water in Ladana village was collected from a baori near the village temple and a seasonal stream that passes through the area. In 2016, the Watershed and Soil Conservation Department, Rajasthan, under the Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP), a Centrally sponsored scheme launched in 2009-10, dug a talab (pond), Ganga Sagar talab.

IWMP had previously provided funds to states in the ratio 90:10 (where one-tenth was the share of the state). To restore the balance of ecology by harnessing, conserving and developing degraded natural resources such as soil, vegetative cover and water, the ratio has now been modified to 60:40.

Ganga Sagar talab, located around 2.5 km from habitation, brought a drastic improvement in availability of drinking water in Ladana village. The pond was used for several years as a source of drinking water. However, the level of water in the pond fell every summer.

In 2018, the panchayat dug an open well almost 25 metre below the ground near the pond. It had dug two more open wells 20 metre deep near the stream in 2017. The three wells are strategically located near waterbodies so that they can be recharged naturally by the pond and stream.

An open well near a stream provides drinking water to Ladana village (Vivek Kumar Sah,)

To control over extraction of groundwater, the village also receives water from the Bisalpur dam, located on the Banas river near Deoli in Tonk district. Until March 2022, only 40 per cent of the 563 households in the village had functional household taps—under Jal Jeevan Mission—connected to an overhead tank through well-laid pipelines.

The remaining households are still to be connected. An overhead tank of 125,000 litre has been constructed in the village which can store both groundwater and water from the dam.

Households with taps get their water supply from groundwater and surface water—in a week, three days’ supply comes from groundwater and four days’ supply from surface water.

Households not connected to pipelines can access surface water supplied from the dam through standposts constructed at three to four locations in the village. Villages such as Peelwa (Amber tehsil, Jaipur), Bajhot (Kishangarh Bas tehsil, Alwar) also follow the same pattern.

A 125,000-litre water-storage tank in Ladana village (Vivek Kumar Sah)

Operation and maintenance

The Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) looks after all the operation and maintenance related to water supply in the village. An operator has also been appointed whose main task is to monitor the supply of drinking water in the village.

PHED collects a token amount of Rs 50 from every beneficiary household (i.e. one that has a tap) as service charge for local source supply and Rs 27.50 for Bisalpur–Jaipur Water Supply Project (BWSP) water supply. PHED provides technical support for the operation and maintenance of the water supply systems.

The Village Water and Sanitation Committee is formed in the village but is not functional so far. The quality of water supplied is tested by PHED officials regularly. Field test kits have been provided to communities who can check the quality of water at their end. One field test kit can test almost 100 water samples. Women participation is also ensured in testing of water samples.

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