American team members interact with residents of
Matli village in Uttarkashi district.
A team from the USA has installed four water chlorinators in disaster-hit Matli and Dilsoar villages, ensuring the availability of purified water to nearly 200 families.
The Himalayee Paryavaran Shiksha Sansthan (HPSS), a Uttarkashi-based voluntary organisation, hosted five American volunteers at its Matli, Uttarkashi campus.
Suresh Bhai, founder and chairperson of the HPSS and an activist of the Save the River Campaign, said, “This project represents a unique opportunity to partner with our global family members and introduce a new water purifying technology to Uttarakhand. We see enormous potential for this in rural India.”
The five American volunteers, namely Tina Ward-Pugh, Joe Jacobi, Lynn Smith, Robin Brothers and Suetta Albin, are associated with a non-profit organisation namely WaterStep, which has its headquarters in Louisville, USA.
WaterStep specialises in installing water chlorinators, giving training in hand-pump repair, providing disaster relief services and teaching health and hygiene practices. Their projects operate in over 25 countries, including Bihar, Meghalaya, Manipur, Assam, Odisha and West Bengal in India.The HPSS and WaterStep were brought together by Margaret Weidner, Fulbright-Nehru student researcher, who spent the last year conducting a research on water management in Garhwal.
Weidner says, “This partnership between the HPSS and WaterStep embodies the aim of the Fulbright-Nehru scholarship to promote cultural exchange and mutual understanding. Through my research, I have the chance to learn from villagers living in Garhwal and this partnership means that they will have access to a technology that can improve their quality of life.”
The water chlorinator, M-100, has been designed by WaterStep engineer Lynn Smith and its production was managed by Joe Jacobi, both of whom led the Matli and Dilsoar installations.
The M-100 is easy to operate, uses local material and is highly durable. “Using table salt and a 12-volt car battery, people are able to purify as much water as they require, up to 40,000 l per day with one machine," he says.
“Both the HPSS and WaterStep look forward to expanding the use of the technology throughout Uttarkashi and hope to promote this technology with local and regional government officials”, said Suresh Bhai.