This report examines the safe water supply support Vasudha Vikas Sansthan has provided to villages in Dhar and adjoining district of Madhya Pradesh since 2004.
|Title||Empowered community: secured safe water supply in parts of Dhar District, Madhya Pradesh|
|Publication Type||Research Report|
|Year of Publication||2015|
|Authors||Rao, MSRM, Raviprakash, MS|
|Pagination||50 p. : 7 fig., 37 tab.|
|Publisher||IRC and Centre of Excellence for Change (CEC)|
|Place Published||The Hague, The Netherlands|
Since 2004 Vasudha Vikas Sansthan has been addressing drinking water needs in Dhar and adjoining districts of Madhya Pradesh. As part of this programme it has concentrated on achieving safe water supply coverage in a limited number of 'challenging' villages where groundwater sources have dangerous levels of fluoride. Through this approach the NGO has provided direct support to 20 villages and supplementary software support to another 35 villages. This support has concentrated on overcoming the fluoride issue by reviving traditional open dug wells – that, generally, have lower levels of fluoride than the deeper groundwater sources – and linking these wells to piped distribution systems. The NGO has worked through a community management model involving community-based drinking water sub-committees (DWSCs) in the villages that carry out day to day operation and minor maintenance activities of the system.
More broadly across the state, since 1960s, the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) is responsible for drinking water supply in rural areas. Ninety-five per cent of the state is covered with PHED managed hand pumps and there are plans to develop a public bulk water supply system for fluoride affected areas in the future. As such, the villages in this case study have good PHED managed hand pump coverage and in some cases PHED supported piped water supply through single-village-schemes from tube wells. However, in several villages afflicted by fluoride, Vasudha Vikas Sansthan provided complimentary support along with PHED to tackle fluoride issue in a select number of villages. The PHED still provides support in these villages as well, in terms of maintaining handpumps that provide potable water (and the communities use the non-potable handpumps for other domestic purposes). The PHED has also recently started its own Social Mobilization Teams to strengthen the DWSCs for community management that is in operation in some villages. This case study is about the partnership and complimentary work of the NGO and government.
The present report examines this support arrangement in more detail, in terms of the type and extent of support provided to villages as well as the costs involved. The institutional set-up is classified as a form of "community management with direct support" provided by both the NGO and PHED. However, the level of professionalisation of the community management is basic with the DWSCs only able to take on minor operation, maintenance and administrative activities. This is reflected in the service levels that they provide which are limited when compared to the comprehensive government norms. However they do provide a supply free from dangerous levels of fluoride and in this way represents a crucial step in the service level ladder. The report ends by offering recommendations to improve the professionalization of the model that centre on the need for further standardisation of processes and procedures, especially regarding DWSC administrative functions.