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Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH)

> Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH)

Water and sanitation are among the most powerful preventive medicines available to governments to reduce infectious disease.

Drinking Water

The communities living in Coastal Gujarat are faced with scarcity of drinking water due salinity ingress, absence of large freshwater bodies and the classic tail end problems of distribution. According to Water availability mapping of 900 coastal villages undertaken by CSPC, it was found that 514 villages received water every 7 days or even lesser frequency in summer months. This causes undue burden for the women to secure drinking water and entails additional expenditure to make the water suitable for consumption.

CSPC undertakes various interventions to ensure both adequate quantity and quality of drinking water for coastal communities.  Some of the key interventions are mentioned below:

Drinking water supply systems

396 villages have been connected to household level drinking water supply schemes in the past 8 years by CSPC. To ensure proper management of these systems, ‘Pani samities’ have been formed by engagement with community members. The work on water supply in partnership with WASMO has increased household water supply availability from 5% to 80%.

Roof Rainwater Harvesting systems(RRWHS)

To overcome the drinking water scarcity faced by coastal communities, CSPC has evolved a local solution as Roof Rainwater harvesting systems. These structures enable the communities to collect and treat rainwater effectively. Over the years, 4000 RRWHS have been constructed in programme villages in collaboration with WASMO and NGO partners.

Water Quality Management

Consumption of poor-quality drinking water has had negative health outcomes and recurrent expenditure upon health in most of the coastal villages. CSPC has promoted regular water testing and chlorination of water in operational villages.  The organisation has over the years developed a database of 1200 villages by regular collection of water samples from drinking water sources. Chlorination and use f potable water filters have also been promoted. The organisation has also undertaken an innovative Iron treatment initiative in partnership with the community, wherein the iron contamination was reduced by a factor of 30.

Sanitation

Access and use of sanitation facilities has been low in rural areas, and this problem is further compounded by unavailability of water in coastal areas. Open defecation is also linked to higher disease incidences and increased medical expenditure.

CSPC worked on improving sanitation facilities by construction of toilets under the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Over the years, CSPC facilitated construction of over 56,000 Individual Household level Latrines (IHHL). To generate demand and promote usage, CSPC works by catalyzing community-based groups, such aswomen’s Self Help Group(s), Village water and sanitation committees, etc. The concentrated work on both infrastructure and behaviourial change has made many coastal villages Open Defecation Free (ODF) even before the Swacch Bharat Mission was actively supported through government efforts. In the post ODF phase, the WASH program has broadened its mandate by covering Menstrual Hygiene management, Solid and Liquid Waste Management, Hygiene education to school children and Implementation of innovative messaging techniques to promote usage of sanitation facilities constructed under SBM.

The organisation’s efforts over the years have had significant social impact on the households in the form of improved hygiene, reduced health issues, enhanced privacy and savings of resources.