Over 334 million people in India do not have access to potable water: wells have either gone dry or the water is extremely contaminated. It can often take hours to walk back and forth from a clean water source, decreasing a child’s school time or a woman’s opportunity to earn extra income.
Water contamination is another big problem. Water in many parts of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh is often excessively high in fluoride. Excessive fluoride leads to a variety of health complications, including ‘fluorosis’, a disease can result in teeth decay, joint pains, crippled bones, gastrointestinal and pregnancy problems.
Over 600 million Indians do not have toilets and are forced to defecate in the open. Negative health impacts include diarrhea, intestinal infections, malaria and Dengue fever. Social issues include security and privacy concerns for women and children.
The bore well program aims to make water accessible to rural families who would otherwise have to walk punishingly long distances to collect water. The program is designed for communities of about 100-200 people. Once financing has been secured for the well, Bala Vikasa hires local area engineers to construct it. The wells are placed in an easily accessible area so that the maximum number of people may access it. Tubes are drilled directly into the ground, to depths reaching 150-200 feet, with casing pipes installed to the depth of 40 feet. This depth guarantees lasting water resources – many of their bore wells are still functioning efficiently after 25 years. Quality hand pumps ensure it is easy for people to draw water manually from the well. A 4-ft diameter cement platform is built around every bore well to channel wastewater and keep the immediate surroundings clean. Positive social impacts of this program include a more peaceful atmosphere arising from less water-related disputes, less time taken to collect water leaving women and children free to pursue education and livelihood activities, and better hygiene in the village.