A settlement is more than just a collection of houses, they are an interlinked whole, bound by power supply, water supply, roads, lanes, bridges and so on. RDT is committed to creating functional communities, with all necessary amenities in place.
All the buildings constructed by the Habitat sector are governed by the principles of quality, durability and economy. RDT studies the needs of the communities, identifies areas where infrastructure can catalyse development, and draws up a plan which is executed with the community’s participation. RDT embarks upon each project only when all approvals are in place. Adherence to timelines is vital, and so is keeping the budget under control. With all this, an engaged community team is essential, since maintaining the infrastructure is their continuing responsibility after the Habitat team has completed the project.
Accessibility to drinking water is a critical component of people’s wellbeing.
RDT has observed that many villages suffer from severe water crises. A majority of households depend on distant and unhygienic sources of water, and the daily onus of fetching it falls to women. RDT undertakes water supply schemes in such villages, and sets up water purification plants in association with the villagers and with consent from the Gram Panchayat. On completion of such projects, the plants are handed over to the Gram Panchayat or the Rural Water Supply Department for maintenance. Under the T.R Sujala Shavanti scheme, the government partners with NGOs to install RO plants in rural areas, while it facilitates drilling of borewells, ensures water supply and creates a shed for the structure. RDT has been installing R.O systems in villages since 2012 and so far, around 27 such systems have been installed (14 by RDT alone and remaining 13 with governmental support). The maintenance is handed over to the Gram Panchayat or the rural water-supply department. In certain places where the panchayat is not able to take responsibility, a water management committee with equal representation of men and women is set-up. RDT facilitates training of these committees through the R.O. manufacturer’s engineers. In agreement with RDT’s core principal of responsible development, the maintenance committee takes a nominal charge of Rs.4 per 20 litres of drinking water from the villagers. This amount in turn is used for the maintenance support i.e. for caretaker’s salary, chemicals, electricity etc. As per a recent study, 10,903 households in RDT surveyed villages had no access to safe drinking water. After intervention by the Habitat team, 10,743 households gained access to potable water. In fact, about 50% households are now able to access water within their immediate neighbourhood and the proximity to clean water has transformed lives in many ways. Inhabitants are healthier and women can manage their productivity better.
General Water Supply
The M S Swaminathan Research Foundation published a report on water scarcity and cropping practices in Ananthapuram in 2010. The report cites a 2004, Department of Groundwater, Mandal-wise map of groundwater resources and shows that out of the 63 Mandals at the time, 33 were over-exploited, 5 were critical, 13 semi-critical, and only 12 had safe groundwater-levels. Aside from building reservoirs and storage tanks where possible, RDT also found that many villages were poorly connected to existing water storage reservoirs. The Habitat team worked out pipeline schemes and storage tank installations that would help villagers make the most of the available water resources and conserve rainfall better.
Since 2005, nearly 45 villages have been upgraded with regular water supply – a borewell is drilled, supply lines laid, about 6-10 ground-level service reservoirs of 3000 cubic litres installed at different locations in the village with taps to enable villagers collect water in pots for their daily work. This infrastructure is maintained by the Rural water-supply department and the Gram Panchanyat is also trained to use the system optimally.
Electricity supply to villages
The area covered by Ananthapuram district is large and supplying utilities to its every corner is a massive undertaking. Electrification of every settlement takes time, manpower and materials. The state government was stretched in getting infrastructure laid down to cover the state. Electricity betters the lifestyle of people and enhances productivity, and RDT has helped the government and the people of Ananthapuram in harnessing electricity to reach rural-poor settlements. The process starts with RDT teams’ electrical engineers making reports about an area or settlement. These reports are then assessed by the Habitat sector team and proposals are made to the State Electricity Board, which, if approved, then prepares an estimate which is borne and the job executed by RDT. Upon completion, the rights of ownership get transferred to state board on installation.
Under this scheme, 41 villages & relocated colonies have been electrified with Kadiri being the first area to be electrified by RDT in 2007.
Solar Energy – Chenchu Tribes
Since these tribal groups live in remote areas where regular supply of electricity is difficult, RDT has consciously set up solar panels for them. In areas where installation of solar panels is not possible, RDT gives out individual portable solar lamps for each house. After the setup, the CDC members take care of its maintenance and training is also provided to the villagers to responsibly use the facilities.
Roads & Bridges/causeways
This is one area where RDT only intervenes in case of dire inaccessibility and only if the community in question has made unsuccessful efforts to get government infrastructure in place. RDT panel of central level technical directors conduct a geographical survey of the area which is sometimes also done with the help of external experts. They study the catchment area, volume of water etc. and make a plan & design. As with other RDT activities, the people are involved in the process by way of doing construction related tasks like digging etc., so that they don’t think it is a handout and stay accountable.
It is a one-time activity and the maintenance is handed over to the state’s Roads & Buildings department. RDT has been carrying out projects in this domain since 2001 and so far, 8 such projects (4 roads & 4 bridges/causeways) have been completed. The first such project was done in Verepallipeta.
Completed 45 water supply schemes through pipelines and storage tanks as of March 2014
Set up 27 water purification plants and 6 water storage tanks in 2014-15 alone
Constructed 7 causeways-cum-roads, and ensured electrification in 41 villages
Drilled 57 drinking water bores in 57 villages inhabited by Chenchu Tribes
Arranged for electrification for 85 families from 5 Chenchu villages
Provided individual solar lights to 389 families in 24 habitations of Chenchus, while 27-solar street lights are provided in 14 habitations
Rural health clinic constructed at Mannanur, Srisailam Region for Chenchu forest dwellers
Bore-well dug at Kanekal and linked via a 7 km. pipeline to the hospital, field office, orphanage & special school at Kanekal Cross
“Water is a basic necessity. Yet, marginalised communities continue to struggle for it day after day at the cost of their development and their precious lives. We, at RDT, want to put a complete stop to this hardship, and with people inputs have been identifying areas of dire need and intervening to solve their water-related issues in a systematic and sustainable manner.” – , STL- Habitat, region
Area Team Leader
The people of Yeruru in Aluru area and Jangalapalli and Srirangarajulapalli in Madakasira area were suffering from acute water problems.
In Jangalapalli the government first drilled a bore well in 1999 which yielded only salt water, and worked for only 4 years. Next, a 560 feet bore was drilled near an irrigation tank in 2000. This bore yielded 2″ water. Two cisterns were arranged via a pipeline along with 6 public and 25 private taps. Unfortunately, the water output decreased with time. So the pipeline was removed and people collected water at the source. But even doing this yielded only 10 water-pots after a half hour waiting period. To worsen matters, there was irregular power supply.
enrolment in the school gradually reduced. While in 2006 total enrolment of the school was above 1000, later reports pegged it around 630.
Thereafter, a 500 feet bore well was dug in 2009 but it worked only for 2 years. In 2010 a tank was built near Govt School by Sreeramireddy water scheme but still there was no water. During acute crisis, the villagers were forced to go to neighbouring villages around 3km away. But the farmers over there were reluctant to share their water and this caused acrimony. Finally, in 2014, a 720 foot bore well was dug which gave 2” of water.
In case of Yeruru, the water is tapped from the existing Tungabadra canal through pipe line and stored in a ground level storage tank as the water is available for only six months in the canal. When there is no water available in the canal, the stored water will be pumped to the existing OHSR from where it is distributed to the public taps in the village.
At Srirangarajulapalli, two bore wells were drilled in a local stream about 1.5 kms away from the village. The water is pumped through pipe line to the existing overhead tank and distributed to the public taps in the village.
“At present we have a cistern near to my home, where my wife can bring water easily in my absence.”
Siddappa (Aged 75)
Having access to water, electricity and connectivity completes a community and integrates it with the rest of the district and State. This integration enables overall economic and sociological development.