Sucheta Dalal :Water Water Everywhere but not a drop to drink
Sucheta Dalal

Click here for FREE MEMBERSHIP to Moneylife Foundation which entitles you to:
• Access to information on investment issues

• Invitations to attend free workshops on financial literacy
• Grievance redressal


You are here: Home » What's New » Water Water Everywhere, but not a drop to drink
                       Previous           Next

Water Water Everywhere, but not a drop to drink  

April 15, 2004

An Appeal:  Water water everywhere …


Prakash Kardaley, Senior Editor of Indian Express, Pune has sent me this appear for getting water to the drought hit. Please do read and repond.


Dear Sirs/Madams


In February last week, I wrote about the plight rural women were facing in fetching water from dried up wells. I was aghast to see that tankers supplying water to parched drought-hit villages are emptied into these wells and women have to fetch it again from the depth of anything between 40 and 60 ft.


I wondered why tanks couldn't be supplied to store water from tankers. The government is doing its job of supplying water through tankers. I felt that society should take up the task of supplying storage tanks.


My young friend Sanjay Deshpande, Joint MD of DSK Group, responded. He not only suggested the option of making ferrocrete storage tanks, but even offered to get one or two fabricated and place them in some needy village.


Needy villages are in hundreds. We zeroed in on two - Kendur and Chowdhari wadi at Pabal (both in the same vicinity) in Shirur taluka, where we learnt from Vinita Deshmukh that two young women had fallen in the community wells while fetching water, broken their back and were crippled for life.


Sanjay had the ferrocrete tanks installed in the two villages today and these were enthusiastically used by the villagers immediately on installation.


Along with the storage tanks, Sanjay installed pulleys devised by him and fabricated under his supervision. These will immensely lighten the burden of the village womenfolk while fetching water from the wells, apart from making the task absolutely safe.


He is planning a small get-together at Kendur village on Sunday, April 18th, at 11 am. We will be grateful if you can join in and have an interaction with the villages.


Kendur is about 60 kms from Pune, off Ahmednagar road.


As one proceeds to Ahmednagar and crosses River Bheema at Koregaon-Bheema, take a left turn to Vadhu; at the samadhi of Sambhaji Maharaj at Vadhu, take a right turn to Kendur.It is about 10 kms from Vadhu.


Another road, though circuitous, is via Shikrapur. Take a left turn to Pabal at Shikrapur. At Pabal, take a left turn again to Kendur, which is barely five kms away.


Kendur should take an hour to reach from Pune. Ninety minutes should be comfortable.


Hoping to see you there.




Prakash Kardaley



The grim reality


Tanker water is emptied into deep wells mostly without a parapet. Women scramble around as well as water is emptied into the well and jostle with each other to pull it up from 40 to 60 feet.


What can be done?

Install ferrocrete storage tanks having wire mesh frame and cement coated walls near the community well. These can be cast at the site itself with varying storage capacity. Cost is negligible. Most towns, and surely the district places, have artisans who can fabricate such tanks, which can last for about half a decade. Cost is negligible. 


Install three or four pulleys with stopper around the wall to reduce the stress of pulling water.


Clean and de-silt the well, as far as possible. This will re-charge its natural sources of water. Spread a plastic sheet at the bottom. This will minimise wastage due to percolation and seepage.


Who can do it?


You and me and everyone - the corporates, service clubs, social organisations and individuals.


How can it be done?


Identify a village or cluster of villages around you with the problem. 


Consult the revenue authorities. Catch hold of an artisan who fabricates the simple ferrocrete storage tanks. Gift these to the village through the sarpanch.


A tank with a capacity of 5,000 litres is ideal. Gift two if you can, and if the village needs additional storage. The sarpanch should ensure that water supplied by tankers is filled in these storage tanks. Recharge the well and spread a plastic sheet at the bottom. This can be done now, since the water level has hit the rock bottom.


If the capacity of the tanks is less than the water supplied, the excess can go in the well. It will be augmented further by the recharges streams, if active.


It is advised to simultaneously undertake simple contouring of village landscape to ensure that most of the rainwater during the monsoons of 2004 will accumulate in the village well.


- Prakash Kardaley



The update:


The mission's first part is complete. The water tanks have been installed at Kendur & Pabal, two draught hit villages where the only means of water supply is a tanker. Also the specially designed pulley, which will reduce the effort required to get the water out of the well has been installed at Kendur. At Pabal the villagers have stopped using the well, rather it wasn't a well just a ditch to store the water. So we will be providing a pulley in the next week after referring the experiences from Kendur residents about the use of the pulley.


You can see from the snaps of the villagers, they are enthusiastic about it & thanked us like any thing.


Kendur set up has been donated by DSK grp & Pabal by Mr.Meghji, my software friend from Switzerland.


My special thanks to Zanakbhai Shah, from Cosmos Eng, whose inputs about the pulley have done a great job & Mr.Dandekar for Ferrocrete tanks. Not to forget Mr.Kardaley, who is the inspiration behind this whole expedition.


We are planning a small informal function at Kendur on the coming Sunday at 11 am.


Please spread this to a maximum number of friends.



DSK Group


My response:




I am so glad to hear about this project. I will indeed try to be there on Sunday, but it is a long distance for us in Mumbai and needs some planning.


I have been reading in the newspapers about the plight of farmers in Sangli etc. whose dignity has been robbed and they are made to labour on government projects just for food to eat. And I was feeling completely helpless that we cannot do anything about it.


I was really happy to read about DSK's effort.


Since I write about business, I know there are plenty of people with lots of surplus money who will genuinely donate a few thousand rupees without even thinking. But nobody knows what to do and how to route it ... and nobody trusts the government.


Can we take this effort further?


Can we find a way to talk to Sanjay or even Sintex to increase the number of such tanks that can be provided as well as the areas covered? (Please do congratulate Sanjay for me).


We could then raise some quick money - I am not talking about lakhs and crores, but you never know, one has to make a start.


I'd suggest only two conditions. First that we keep meticulous accounts and take the help of someone like Manoj to put up the money collected and spent on a website.


Even if some donors want to be anonymous, they can be listed in code "ABC" etc. and identified on the site.


Do you think this is workable?


In this day and age, when the rest of us cannot find anyone to take even our leftovers, it is a tragedy that so many Indians -- that too those who have otherwise earned a decent livelihood are in such a pitiable condition.


Do respond urgently so that we can do something quick.


Best regards, Sucheta


Mr.Kewal Semlani’s daughter from London has responded by offering to donate one storage tank.


Lets take this forward….


-- Sucheta Dalal