As in so many villages across India, the children of the community (like their parents) lack sanitary drinking water. Drinking contaminated water exposes the children and their families to the danger of disease and health problems, such as diarrhea (which kills 1.5 million children a year in India), skin conditions, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis and others.
Not only is the water hazardous, it is sometimes simply unavailable. Power outages and well-pump failures mean that the village can go without water for several days at a time.
In order to obtain safe drinking water, the villagers have two main alternatives:
- They can drive 3 or 4 kilometers into Auroville in order to access (and transport back home) free and safe drinking water. Unfortunately, most of the villagers do not have the possibility to do so.
- They can purchase bottled water. This too is expensive, and bears an environmental toll as India lacks the means for proper disposal of the tons of plastic waste generated by the bottled water industry.
Since both of these options are beyond the means of most villagers, they continue to drink contaminated well-water.
The Golden Water project addresses the above problems by providing a readily accessible source of safe drinking water for the children and community of Edayanchavadi village.
In recent months we completed the well and water purification facility. The treated water has been tested and found to be free of pollutants and pathogens.
We give the children 2 liters of water from the Golden Water facility to take home with them after the afternoon program. For the rest of the village we will be charging a small, affordable fee in order to cover ongoing operational costs and maintenance of the water system.
As part of our program we provide the children with education on drinking water, water hygiene, and water economy.
We will be using some of the water from our well to grow a sustainable vegetable garden at New Colors. Soil in the Auroville area has been depleted by decades of soil erosion, as well as over-use of fertilizers and pesticides. The local people have lost the tradition of home vegetable growing and lack the knowledge of how to grow their own food in a sustainable way. Starting at New Colors with the children, we will teach the community how to use their own plots to grow their own vegetables, thus improving their family nutrition without wasting water resources or money.
Our aim is therefore to increase awareness of water conservation and sustainable gardening in order to empower the community to live in a self-sustainable way. We want the community to learn how to properly use and maintain their sacred water supply and learn that with healthy water they can also produce their own food.