Jala - Kayal Samrakshana Samathys
ATREE CERC has established community-based institutions for decentralised management of drinking water in Kuttanad, Alappuzha. With the support from the Kuttanad Package, 25 forums are registered across Five Panchayats in Alappuzha to solve in water crisis areas of Kuttanad. Grama Panchayats and CERC- ATREE conducted Participatory Rural Appraisal techniques to identify water scarce areas and user groups. All the user groups are organised under ‘(Place name) Jala Kayal Samrakshna Samathys’ (water and lake protection forums) and a team of elected representatives among them operate and manage the scheme under the guidance of each Grama Panchayat. They have appointed local operators for the plant who are given training for the same. The operation and maintenance cost (O&M cost) required are decided and collected by the user group committee and have a bank account to keep this money.
So far we have commissioned 24 user groups and R.O plants in Kavalam, Pulinkunnu, Veliyanad, Kainakary and Muhamma Grama Panchayats. Many of the user groups have a sense of ownership of the plant and ensure smooth functioning of it. Some of the user groups have mentioned, ‘Participatory projects such as these are excellent for the people as we have the ownership of this plant.
Participatory projects have big impacts at ground level especially when small-scale projects are initiated. This institutional framework can be taken as an example of how well we can implement projects in this paradigm.