Solving Jallipetta's Water Shortage With A Single Tap
"When I came to this village after my marriage, I used to collect water from an open well located a few kilometres from here. Gradually, the open wells dried up and the Gram Panchayat provided hand pumps. Then the hand pumps also became defunct." says Shantamma, a 55-year-old farmer living in Jallipetta village in Chittoor.
The main occupation of the people in Jallipetta is agriculture. Farmers mostly sow paddy and coconut in the fields due to the surplus availability of water. Agricultural labour and livestock rearing are other preferred works. Like many other rural areas around it, the responsibility of fetching water always falls on the women. "Men of the household do not worry about the responsibility of collecting water for daily usage. The responsibility is mounted on women's shoulders. If I fall sick, my daughter-in-law will collect water on my behalf." says Shantamma.
Water supply had been a persistent problem in the area. The panchayat water supply is seven years old and they re-laid the connection three to four times. But it still didn't work throughout the year and there would be severe water shortages during summers. Women would often be forced to collect water from agricultural fields and panchayat water supply for household use despite the presence of a community tap right outside their home since it almost never worked.
Earlier this year, Jallipetta was one of the Gram Panchayats selected for intervention and implementation of the Counting Every Drop water development project with the financial and technical support of WaterAid India and Amazon Web Services. As part of the intervention, the village's defunct borewell was restored and connected with the community tap at the heart of the village.
"After the restoration of the defunct borewell and connecting it to the community water tap supply has been a blessing. I have 14 family members who are dependent on me to fetch water every day. The workload has been reduced and helped me to focus more on my livestock and agricultural work," says Shantamma. She adds, "I fetch about 50 pots of water daily for drinking and sanitation purposes as well as for the cattle feed. I have saved a lot of time and drudgery ever since the community water tap has started functioning outside our houses."