Water Celebrations Continue in Rural Telangana, India

Water Celebrations Continue in Rural Telangana, India

News Release
 

It’s a hot, dry June day in rural Telangana.  The harvests are over and the fields are bare.  Men with oxen are plowing and women in colorful saris are planting the next season’s crops.  In some villages, however, there are celebrations going on. Clean water is a problem for these hard working people and LDS Charities, the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is helping to solve it.

The villages depend on shallow bore hole wells for their water, but it is contaminated with high levels of fluoride which causes severe health problems.  The only alternative to drinking the high-fluoride groundwater is to purchase water from outside the village which not only entails a high cost but also the inconvenience of transporting it. 

In the hamlet of D.B. Pally the villagers gather around a small room containing a new RO (reverse osmosis) system for the celebration.  Kusukuntia Prabhaker Reddy, member of the Telangana Legislative Assembly for the Munugode constituency,  Manohar Mekala, a representative of The Church of  Latter-day Saints in Hyderabad and Elder Allen and Sister Janene Jolley, LDS Charities humanitarian volunteers join in.  Speeches are made, coconuts are smashed on the threshold of the room containing the RO equipment and finally, the spigot is turned on and village women fill their pots with clean water.

LDS Charities has been providing reverse osmosis water purification systems in the area for a decade.  Most recently, between 2015 and 2016, seventy villages received the systems.  Starting in 2017 fifty more will also.  Last month ten villages east of Hyderabad, in the constituencies of  Alair and Munugode celebrated the installation of the RO systems.

In accordance with its goal to “help others as God would have us do,” LDS Charities has set up these water projects to encourage self-reliance and sustainability by requiring the villagers to participate.  Each village must provide a secure building to house the RO equipment as well as labor and materials to pipe the water from the borewell to the building.  In addition, the village must organize a water committee to maintain the system with oversight and assistance from LDS Charities.  A small fee is charged for the clean water (about half of what villages were paying before) to pay for maintaining the system, a salary for the water master and electricity to run it. 

Funds for the RO systems in Telangana come from individual, not government or corporate donors and are administered by volunteers who live in the communities they serve and are directed by local leadership.  One hundred percent of LDS Charities funds go toward project expenses.

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