Veeravalli Village, Andhra Pradesh, India
Located in Bapulapadu mandal, Veeravalli village is the major Panchayat for Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh. Veeravalli supports 950 households and a population of around 8000. It has a Panchayat office, Primary Health Centre, Primary & Upper Schools, Police Station and Railway Station.
The village’s main occupation is agriculture. The major source of water supply for cultivation is the Eluru Canal which passes through Veeravalli. The canal water used for consumption had led to a large number of villagers being infected by waterborne diseases.
Veeravalli’s Primary Health Centre did not have the resources to treat the water source which was contaminated with pathogens as well as high levels of magnesium and other dissolved solids.
Design and Installation of Veeravalli Water Health Centre
WHIN conducted a detailed and needs-based study to determine which prevalent waterborne diseases and pathogens were present in the water source. Based on the study WHIN designed and installed a WaterHealth Centre in Veeravalli, equipped with a patented UV Waterworks system and blended RO for safe drinking water with healthy minerals.
WHIN has installed more than 300 water purification centres in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu based on the UV technology. It has set up state-of-the-art captive water testing laboratory facility at Vijayawada for testing water samples collected during the various stages of the customer engagement lifecycle.
The Water centre has storage tanks, pre-filtration systems, piping, instrumentation and other control gadgets, electrical control panels and skids. WaterHealth International’s patented, award-winning technology, UV Waterworks™ disinfects water for drinking and other household uses. Dr Ashok Gadgil, VP of Scientific Affairs for WaterHealth Inc, developed UVW at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The technology has received international acclaim for its ability to deliver high-quality water at very low cost.
UVW employs a unique ultraviolet system configuration in which the ultraviolet light source is suspended in air and features a specially designed, gravity-driven water flow channel. UV disinfection is an extremely safe, reliable and environmentally superior method of disinfecting water for human consumption and other uses. The water produced exceeds the potable water standards of the World Health Organization.
The community supported WHIN by providing land for the WaterHealth Centre site, raw water source and electricity to the Centre. The Centre successfully provided safe drinking water to Veeravalli and helped it eradicate more than 50% of the waterborne diseases affecting the villagers. All the villagers could now access pure and safe water at a price affordable even to those who earned less than US $60 a month.
Despite their encouraging word-of-mouth, large groups in the community remained unconvinced and suspicious of the importance of drinking safe water.
WHIN’s operations also involve health education initiatives to increase the adoption of safe water in the communities it operates in. In Veeravalli, WHIN focused on targeted groups of women and children as part of an outreach programme to inculcate awareness and create behavioural change in the community.
Outreach through Women’s Groups
The village of Veeravalli has 56 women’s self help groups. Understanding the health benefits of using safe water, the women’s groups in Veeravalli organised and registered 100 members for the distribution of potable water from the WaterHealth Centre.
Aruna Musukuri, one of the registered distributors, signed up to the programme. A vehicle would visit her home each day and drop fifty 20lt cans of clean water for resale. Aruna also educates the community on the benefits of using safe water. In this capacity, she visits at least 10 houses each day and her influence on the community has grown steadily. She earns approximately Rs1500 per month from the resale of WaterHealth water and is pleased with the compensation.
Outreach through school children
WaterHealth focuses on the education of school children who carry the message of the importance of safe water home. WaterHealth’s ultimate goal is to reach 50 million consumers by 2013 through child-to-child, child-to-parent and parent-to- community outreach networks.
So far, approximately 17,500 school children and 400 teachers at more than 400 schools in India have been trained on the importance of safe water and hygiene. After implementing the Safe Water Campaign in Veeravalli High School, school absentee rates reduced dramatically. Overall, community awareness is so high in Veeravalli that villagers now carry safe water when travelling to other locations.