Fwd: Project Well designed BI-TECH wells are gaining popularity in the areas where they are implemented for arsenic mitigation.
- Hello Readers,
It is true that the bi-tech wells installed by Project Well as an intervention to provide arsenic-safe water are gaining popularity in the areas where they are implemented but not well known elsewhere. It is perhaps because of its association with the word �dug well� (pat kua in the regional language, Bengali), which might have negative connotations.
Over a period of ten years, Project Well, with the help of the NGO Aqua Welfare Society, has been conducting research and development of modified dugwells in the region where arsenic is present in pockets below the depth of 30-50 feet. It is true that traditional dugwells are associated with waterborne diseases but Project Well-designed wells are different from the traditional dugwells:
1. They are covered and water is extracted by a hand pump, unlike the traditional
bucket and rope method.
2. In addition to the design that prevents entry by harmful bacteria even during the
rainy season, the wells are also chlorinated.
3. After we changed the design from that of modified dugwell to bore-dugwell,
water is now available throughout the year.
This type of bore-dugwell is appropriate in the rural areas as a safe-water mitigation program because:
a) It is cheaper than constructing deep tubewells (approximately INR 30000, $700);
b) To construct it does not require imported technology;
c) Can be constructed by locally available cheap labor and raw materials, bringing job to several rural sectors;
d) Most importantly, it is easily adaptable and maintained by the community.
A step-by-step DIY (DO IT YOURSELF) guidelines is available, free, on the Project Well website projectwellusa.org.
Project Well installed these wells in West Bengal, India. There are 203 functional wells with total of 5500 beneficiaries recorded in the database. The water is used for both, cooking and drinking purposes. There are many who are using some wells for other purposes. They are not included in this total number, while some wells need maintenance. Each community is comprised of three to more than 150 users. Project Well keeps track of all our wells monthly, as part of our management until sustainability is achieved. 60 communities have been given ownership of their water sources, meaning they are responsible for application of the disinfectant that is provided and sold by the local NGO. Inspection of these community-owned wells is done quarterly.
Sustainability can be achieved not only through repeated small-and-large-group awareness programs in communities and institutions, but also through the media. And we believe that the popularity of these wells can be improved by giving them a more accurate name. Hence we suggest the name �bi-tech well� since it uses two methods: dug well and bore well. This term �bi-tech� would be popular in the villages just as the term �hybrid� is, that refers to deep tubewells.
Reporters, investigators, implementers and students may contact us if you are interested in visiting the villages to collaborate with us and to study, evaluate, or write reports on the work of Project Well. No studies have been done on the bacterial contamination of these wells yet, except routine tests for E.coli done after construction that found �undetected� counts of E.coli in most samples.
Meera M Hira-Smith
Founder and Director