26 Dec 2014
Project Well – Visit to field locations Nadia and North 24 Parganas, West Bengal
The Arsenic Knowledge and Action Network, as part of its process of documenting the various available arsenic mitigation methods across the country, visited the Project Well locations in West Bengal in an attempt to understand the technique as well as explore the contextual feasibility of adopting this technique on other arsenic affected locations across the country. It is pertinent to understand the context of dug wells in India and how the usage patterns have evolved over the last couple of decades and more. Dug wells have been culturally grounded in the GMB plains as well as other parts of India for centuries. A study done by the School of Environmental Studies, Jadhavpur University showed that community dug-wells were the primary sources of drinking water across the GMP plains.
Gradually through the late 80s and early 90s, there was a concerted effort to promote hand pumps as a safe source of drinking water due to the high prevalence of diseases caused by bacteriological contamination and the resultant diarrheal deaths, especially in parts of West Bengal and Bangladesh by various national and international agencies, including most visibly the World Bank.
Because dug-wells are a familiar water source, communities easily learn how to properly use and maintain dug-wells. It is important to note though that the design proposed here, is based on the premise that the near-surface unconfined aquifer is characteristically arsenic free in the belt in which Project Well works, which is for now restricted to the three districts of Nadia, North 24 Parganas and Murshidabad.
For more information visit: http://projectwellusa.org/