Every year fierce floods affect the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in North Bihar due to heavy rainfall and breaching of embankments. During the floods, there is a critical lack of safe drinking water, sanitation and shelter that increases the vulnerability of people to the outbreak of diseases and malnutrition.
From 2007, over two phases of the project, Arghyam supported Megh Pyne Abhiyan, (MPA) to propagate Watsan interventions in the flood prone villages, increase self-reliance of the community and enhance local coping mechanisms to reduce the community’s vulnerability to flooding. Some of these measures were taken to scale in the Chagares district by the government. The government now recognises MPA as its grassroots partner for helping provide scalable, sustainable and low-cost solutions for Watsan under flood situations.
Over the two phases of the project :
- Three rounds of water quality testing, of around 50 drinking water sources, was done per panchayat.
- Communities in all 22 Gram Panchyats started using the low cost, alternative safe drinking water solutions during floods. Some of these included:
- Locally made, household based iron & bacteria removal matka filters used successfully with more than 500 matka filters installed.
- Jal Kothis (water storage containers) designed for safe storage of water.
- Over 330 community rainwater harvesting structures constructed.
- More than 850 individual rainwater harvesting structures constructed.
- More than 60 dugwells cleaned, revived and around 25 were repaired with the support of community.
- As leach pit toilets get flooded during the floods Ecosan toilets promoted for safe sanitation. Over 60 Ecosan toilets, locally called Phaydemand Shouchalays constructed.
- 36 farmers successfully tried Systematic Rice Intensification (SRI /Shri Vidhi) for growing summer paddy.