Monday, September 15, 2014

Water management at two government schools in Narasapura, Kolar

Narasapura region in Kolar district has become synonymous with industries over some period of time. Amidst this industrial township, two government schools also exist.

The first school is at Jodi Krishnapura and the second one is at K.B. Hosahalli. Like many of the peripheral areas in Kolar district, this region also faces the problem of high fluoride content in the water. Tackling high fluoride content becomes more important in the context of this school as research has shown that continuous and long term exposure to fluoride affects children more than adults as they are more vulnerable with soft enamel. Thus, providing safe drinking water becomes imperative. Jodi Krishnapura school has been lucky in this sense because Canara bank has put up a de-fluoridation plant in this village and hence, safe drinking water is available to this school. An interesting fact that came into light is that the fluoride reject water is collected in a tank which is reused for hand washing, etc. This system is not available to the school of K B hosahalli and for this school depends on Tata Swach filter to treat the water. However, this doesn't solve the issue of fluoride in water.

While Jodi Krishnapura doesn't face drinking water issue, it does face problem of access to water in toilets, in kitchen, in an anganwadi, etc. K B Hosahalli school also faces similar problem of access to water as storage is present only in one of school premises and kitchen, toilets, and other school premises are separately placed. 

Under the Swarna Jala Scheme of Government of Karnataka, rainwater harvesting structures were installed in government schools across Karnataka which included these two schools as well. However, both the systems are non-functional with broken pipes, lack of connections, etc.

We understand that, providing technical recommendations would not have a long term and sustained impact on any of the issues. And hence, involvement of school kids (6th/7th class), school principal, school teachers, school development and management committee (SDMC) and Cluster Resource person (CRP) of that district is equally essential. Thus, separate sessions were conducted with each of these stakeholders.

Session with kids and teacher: Water quality testing kit (JAL-TARA Kit) was used to demonstrate the process of water quality testing for fluoride and bacteria. Students were involved in conducting the activities like drawing water sample, mixing up solutions. Teacher was reminded to keep a tab on test time, to check results, and an exercise was given to students to conduct mapping and checking of several water samples within their village.

Separate session with SDMC, Principal and CRP:  Two grampanchayat's in a village have one CRP. Each CRP has 15 schools under him for supervision. The CRP of these two schools is Mr. Kolappa who has been very proactive during our interactions.  SDMC is an association of parents and teachers in the school which takes care of every issue the school is facing. SDMC consists of 13 members from parents, 3 permanent teachers as members and 3 donors making the total of 19 members. This session was also insightful as mutual consent is necessary before taking up any plan and monitoring of the implemented plans would involve this group actively.

Now, the further work will involve:
  • To address the access to water problem in both the schools, construction of overhead tanks with connections to areas where that is needed and repairing the rainwater harvesting system is recommended.

  • In K B Hosahalli, we came across an old, abandoned and dry well in school premises. Recharging this old well through redirecting captured rainwater into it would take care of the water needs.

  • To address the fluoride problem in K B Hosahalli school, we are still pondering over the options.
  • Setting up of new set of toilets, roof over the toilets is also suggested


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