Guava leaves, open wells, appropriate technology and all that

Guava leaves, open wells, appropriate technology and all that

S. Vishwanath, Biome (www.biome-solutions.com) ruminates on learnings and new questions raised by those learnings during a recent visit to villages in the Puri district of Orissa, to formulate a joint Arghyam/Water Aid project on drinking water in the villages.dsc05796.JPG dsc05797.JPGdsc05794.JPGdsc05799.JPG

Handpumps in coastal Orissa as in this village in Puri district show the presence of iron. Salt water too is present in the handpumps. Here is something interesting: The first photo shows a glass of water with guava leaves in it. This is a trick taught to us by friends from Bihar, Eklavya Prasad and partners from Megh Pyne Abhiyan. Iron contaminated water when it comes in contact with crushed guava leaves, turns black when the tanin in the leaves reacts with the iron. The colour of the water in this case remains the same. This is the water from the open well in photo 2 .The open well water is neither saline nor has iron in it. Is it because it is well aerated? The third photo shows the water from the handpump in photo 4 . Guava leaves with their tannin has reacted with the iron here and turned the water black. The introduction of the handpump has resulted in all open wells being filled up or turned into garbage dumps except this single one which we found in this household. They too had a handpump and were actually using that water for drinking. Questions - Is the open well still relevant as a system to give clean non iron/non saline water or is its time up? Can it be recharged with rainwater and a freshwater lens created to increase the water availability and to prevent it from going dry in summer? Are we moving behind with technology or is it past forward that we should look to in this case? Can we bring in Ecosan and protect the shallow aquifer? --S. Vishwanath Biome Solutions , www.biome-solutions.com

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