Now, they get safe, piped drinking water at Banagudi tribal village

Chennai: For last 25 years, people of Banagudi, a tribal village at Kotagiri in Nilgiris district were getting drinking water from a common tank. But now, they get safe and protected piped drinking water in their homes. Thanks to Junior Chamber International (JCI) attached to NAWA (Nilgiri Adivasi Welfare Association), a NGO, which implemented it under Nanneer Gramam project.

JCI-NAWA adopted Banagudi village, where there are 42 households belonging to Kurumbas tribe. The NGO is taking initiatives to provide all the basic needs to the welfare of the people and one such is providing safe piped drinking water to all households.

The NGO is supported by Jackanarai Panchayat and District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) under the vision and guidance of Nilgiris District Collector J Innocent Divya. The technological support was provided by Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC).

Speaking about Nanneer Gramam, JCI-NAWA president B Poovizy said, ”JCI-NAWA with 23 women members adopted the Banagudi village and are providing all the basic facilities to the tribal people. JCI-NAWA wanted to provide 100 per cent safe piped drinking water to all the 42 households and also a community hall and anganwadi. Hence, under the instruction of the District Collector and DRDA, we took up this project. The technology and technical support was provided by BARC Senior Scientist J Daniel Chellappa. We sponsored all the 44 water purifiers at a cost of Rs 44,000”.

She also claimed that Banagudi is the first tribal village in Tamilnadu to get piped drinking water with Ultra Filtration Membrane (UFC) based purification system and JCI-NAWA plans to create Banadudi as a model tribal village in Tamilnadu.

Speaking about the technology used in the project, Daniel Chellappa said, ”Safe drinking water is an essential component for every individual. The present system of water purification by the Municipality sometimes fails to meet the ISO:10500 (standard for drinking water). The RO systems filters out all the essential minerals which our body needs and it is expensive for installation and maintenance. So, BARC, in search of an alternative to Municipal treated water and RO system, came out with ‘Ultra Filtration Membrane’ (UFC) based purification system.”

”The Total Dissolved Solid (TDS) should be between 100mg/L to 500mg/L for safe drinking water and most of the Municipal treated water meets out this standard but when it is transmitted from pumping station to the households it gets contaminated by air borne chemicals. So, to treat this at the receiver end we need some syste. With UFC, we can filter the air borne chemicals, bacterias and most importantly the polio virus without affecting the necessary minerals in the water and it meets the ISO:10500 standard,” he added.

Speaking about the advantages and cost effectiveness of UFC based purification system, he said, ”The system does not need electricity as it filters out with the help of pressure difference in the flow of water whereas all other system needs electricity. There is no wastage of water in the filtration process and no need of annual maintenance contract. The small size of the UFC system makes it easy to install anywhere and it can also be shifted when needed. The initial cost of installation is around Rs 800 to Rs 1,000 and the change of cartridge during maintenance costs Rs 200 which is very less compared to RO system where each cartridge costs between Rs 2,000 and Rs 4,000. UFC comes with a lifetime of five years. So, if you calculate the cost per liter it comes less than 1 paisa for a litre which is affordable to the common people”.

Arunachalam Kannan