An arduous trek of over 2 km to and from their houses daily to fetch water is history for the women of Kishor village in Thane district, Maharashtra. For decades, they had to walk under the harsh sun with children in tow, pots on head and waist, making a beeline to a perennial well, nearly 650 metres away from the village. The well has natural aquifers and abundance of sweet water to cater to the villagers’ needs, and recharged by the dam, it is the only source of drinking water for the villagers.
“During one of our NSS camps in Kishor, we created five bunds which provided sufficient water for irrigation,” recalls Antony Lawrence, Principal, St Paul College and treasurer of Rotary Club of Ulhasnagar Sapna Garden, D 3142.
Plea for Rotary’s help
The village sarpanch Sanjay Gaikar, happy with the project, requested Lawrence to solve the water woes of the village through his club.
Subsequently, the club members led by President Manish Mulchandani visited the village and also briefed the then DG Chandrashekhar Kolvekar about the situation who in turn sanctioned a District Grant of $2,900 to provide water facilities for the villagers.
Around the same time, a French Rotarian, Philippe Dangelser, a friend of PP Suresh Rupchandani and an expert in water projects, on a visit to the club expressed a desire to inspect the dam and project site.
Seeing the hardship faced by the villagers and the daily grind of women in fetching water from a far-off well, Dangelser agreed to part-fund the project with help from his club, RC Brumath, France. “Philippe shares a good rapport with our club through RYE for long,” says Rupchandani.
Dangelser mobilised around $4,600 from his club and Ulhasnagar Rotarians chipped in with another $1,000 to bridge the shortfall. A pipeline was laid to link the well to a storage tank present on a nearby hillock. The tank, with a 10,000-litre capacity, was earlier constructed by the State government.
A submersible motor was lowered into the well to pump water to the tank through the pipeline. The storage tank has supply lines to each household to deliver potable water via taps, thus solving the drinking water needs of the villagers.
The project will benefit over 200 families in the village. “We are thankful to Rotary for putting an end to our drinking water woes. Women spend more time now doing other productive things like studying and even enjoying simple pleasures of rural life,” smiles Gaikar.