A Tribal Dominated Village In Panna Recycles Every Drop of Waste Water

Every drop of water is recycled in this small village in the jungles of Panna, thanks to the initiative of the Jal Jeevan Mission. This has led to kitchen gardens, enough water for the cattle and irrigation and even a lotus pond

Arun SinghArun Singh   24 Aug 2023 11:56 AM GMT

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A Tribal Dominated Village In Panna Recycles Every Drop of Waste WaterTribal Village in Palthara village in Madhya Pradesh aces grey water management. All Photographs by Arun Singh. 

Palthara/Panna (Madhya Pradesh)

There is a lotus pond that greets visitors to Palthara village in Panna district, Madhya Pradesh. It was not there a few months ago. What was there was slush, a dirty pool and a general mess, the inhabitants say.

“Our village now is beautiful. It is clean, and you will not find stagnant water and garbage anywhere,” Sahajrani Gond, told Gaon Connection. She is inordinately proud of the fact that her home has a demarcated bathing area where she also washes her clothes. “The waste water is carried through pipes to an area behind my house where it waters my vegetable patch. I grow tomatoes, chillies and other vegetables there,” the 60-year-old said.

Tapping into progress

The transformation has happened over the last four or five months with the implementation of water conservation schemes of Jal Jeevan Mission.

The community of about 32 families in the village wholeheartedly adopted the measures and the processes to recycle grey water.

“Ever since our homes got taps under Jal Jeevan Mission, there has been a huge change. The social work organisation Samarthan stepped in and began working with us on conserving and recycling water in our village,” Janak Singh, a 67-year-old from Palthara, told Gaon Connection.

Also Read: India Consumes A Quarter Of The Groundwater Extracted Globally: CSE Report

The scheme was enthusiastically embraced by the 150 odd inhabitants of the village, which abuts some deep forests of Panna, and today, not a drop of water that comes out of the taps here is wasted.

Palthara falls in the Rahunia Panchayat along with other villages such as Patha, Gurha, Pali and Gujar, most of them tribal dominated.

Even as recently as 20 years ago, there was no easy access to these villages and people had to either walk or use two-wheelers to traverse the jungle roads.

A community driven project

Sanitation and water management expert, Rajkumar Misra who was a consultant to Samarthan in its works at Palthara village had a significant role to play in recycling grey water. “It is this water that runs off from washing clothes and bathing that is called grey water. The grey water in Palthara is cleaned and reused for various purposes,” Misra told Gaon Connection.

The community of about 32 families in the village wholeheartedly adopted the measures and the processes to recycle grey water were put into place in the space of two to three months.

Also Read: In these villages in Jaisalmer, every house has a traditional 'beri' to collect rainwater

“Before, when we carried about water from the village handpump, it would spill everywhere and create a mess. But, since we have the taps at home, the wastewater is collected and it is used for irrigation, watering our kitchen gardens and also for cattle,” Janak Singh said.

The waste water collects into a tank where the cattle come to quench their thirst. The excess water from this tank flows into a second tank which has now become the lotus pond.

The process to reuse the waste water has taken about four months.

Earlier nearly 80 per cent of water that is recycled today was lost. Water used to stagnate where people bathed and washed their clothes and vessels and cattle would drink this water and fall sick, Janak Singh said.

“Each and every house in the village now has a bathroom from where the bathwater and water from washing clothes is led through pipes into a silt chamber where it is filtered and cleaned,” Gyanendra Tiwari, regional coordinator for Rajkumar Misra and Samarthan, told Gaon Connection. Misra said that the water is then directed into the kitchen gardens in each of the homes and the excess water is piped into two tanks. All the bathrooms in the village as well as the two village hand pumps are connected through pipes into the tanks.

The Reduce, Reuse, Recharge mantra

Rajkumar Misra who has worked in many parts of Madhya Pradesh in water and sanitation said it was perhaps for the first time that grey water management has been so effectively implemented as it has in Palthara.

“There are three Rs in grey water management. They are Reduce (use less water); Reuse (clean up used water and use it for gardening, etc.,) and Recharge (use excess waste water to recharge the water table),” he said. In Palthara, there is not a drop of water that is not reused, so nothing is allowed to run waste.

“The process to reuse the waste water has taken about four months. Rajkumar Misra ji stayed with us for the duration and oversaw the project,” Gulab Singh Gond, a 60-year-old from Palthera told Gaon Connection.

Also Read: Learn the art of saving water from those who live without it – the people of the desert

Gulab Singh cleared out a barn where he stored fodder for his cattle and Misra lived there for four months. The people of the village embraced him into their fold and made sure they cooperated with him in every way.

“The people of Palthara were also trained in grey water management by Samarthan,” regional coordinator Gyanendra Tiwari said. “The entire operation was a success because of the involvement of every adult and child in the village. It is no surprise then that this small village in Panna district is a model village in grey water management,” he said.

#Waterconservation #watermanagement #JalJeevanMission #water 

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