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September 22, 2021

The Torchbearers: The water Quality Advocate

Hamirbhai is passionate about water, which is a perfect fit for his role as the community elected ‘Water Operator’ of his village. At just 37 years of age he has become an advocate in the district for promoting ‘water quality testing’ to prevent ill-health among villagers, and has been instrumental in turning the water situation around in over 13 communities.

 It all started in 2018 when the Community Health Clinic noticed a severe spike in viral fever among the community during monsoon, and it seemed everyone was down ‘sick’ as a result. Something was clearly wrong in Math Village, his home town.

ACF decided to get the water tested and see if that was the source of the problem. The test results highlighted high levels of bacteria and viruses in the water. Investigating further, they also realized that the local water storage tanks were contaminated and needed cleaning out to protect the water, which was piped into the community via a Government pipeline. 

Taking a 3 phase approach ACF set about educating the community about the importance of regular water quality testing; teaching them how to conduct a simple water test; and showing them the steps necessary to address the problem - using chlorine powder to treat water, cleaning storage tanks and electing a local Water Operator to manage the water and its distribution. 

As President of the local Shrinath Youth Group, Hamirbhai was the perfect fit for the part time job. Rolling up his sleeves he got to work and soon there was a major reduction in the number of people coming to the dispensary with health issues. 

But apparently Math was not the only village in the region that was affected by the problem. With high salinity in the groundwater, many other communities were suffering from adverse health problems as a result of poor water quality. 

ACF set about educating and training villagers in the area on water quality testing, and Hamirbhai played a crucial role in ‘paying it forward’ - educating Water Operators on how to test water and ensure it was safe for dispersal in the community. 

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On top of his ‘day job’ at Ambuja Cements, Hamirbhai wakes up every day at 6 am to check the storage tank and pipes for leakage, and then shifts his focus from 6:30-8.30 am to pumping water, ensuring equal distribution in the community. He conducts the same ritual at the end of the day from 5.30 pm onwards - using spare time to travel to other communities and teach other Water Operators how to safely test, manage and distribute clean water.

It’s hard work, but the happy smiles on the healthy faces of his fellow villagers makes it all worth it!

Impact

  • From 13 villages to 30 villages independently testing water
  • Every year during monsoon we demonstrate water testing as well as chlorination process in communities
  • 30 schools are testing their drinking water sources in Ambujanagar
  • During the year a total of 67 awareness sessions on drinking water quality were carried out with 2824 people
Tags: Water
September 22, 2021

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