As part of the Market access for affordable Safe water solution packages DA has piloted an innovative “Community-owned and Community-operated (COCO)-Model” powered by solar energy for supplying safe drinking water to three villages: Pipra, Govindnagar and Chandraban in the Bundelkhand region. Part of the capital expenditure is funded by a donor organisation, and part by the community, the model is able to achieve operational break-even. The monthly charge of Rs 25/- collected from households in each of the three villages accumulates to a fund that is large enough to cover the annual maintenance and repair expenditures. Therefore, once the initial infrastructure is in place, the community can independently undertake operations without external support.
Advantages - TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE
• An average of 1.5 hours is saved per household per day due to reduced drudgery.
• The three villages together save around 300 man-hours a day.
• Roughly 60% of the women reported that they use the saved time for economically productive activities such as working on their poultry farms or rearing animals, meaning that an extra 180 hours a day are spent on economically productive activities.
• 50% of women reported that their daughters, especially adolescent girls, previously involved in fetching water, are now able to reach school on time and spend more time on schoolwork
• 75% of women reported some form of health or hygiene-related benefit to easy availability of water, access to water that is cleaner and better in taste that drawn from hand-pumps or wells, and reduced incidence of illnesses, particularly stomach-related illnesses.
• The use of solar energy reduces dependence on fossil fuels for pumping up and transporting water, allowing the system to function with minimal emissions of carbon dioxide.
• The model ensures community governance of an important natural resource, which in turn ensures that the resource is sustainably extracted and properly maintained.
Currently project team is focusing on strengthen the operation of the project by spreading awareness on the importance of sanitation and hygiene. It is seen that despite the easy availability of water in the vicinity of the home, people are not using toilets for various socio-cultural reasons.
Another effort towards strengthening the project may be providing training to the Samagra Jal Vikas Samiti (Village Water Comity) members on accounting and financial management.