"Mazhapolima"? : Participatory well recharge programme in Thrissur district, Kerala, part 1

Thrissur District in Kerala is embarking on an innovative open well recharge programme that may be well worth for other states to keep an eye on. An explanation of the programme by Mr. Kurian Baby, District Collecter, Thrissur.

For the total of 6-lakh households in Thrissur district, there are a total number of 4.5 lakh open/dug wells. As per the 2001 census, 71% of the total population of the district depends on open wells for drinking. Estimates indicate that the aggregate household investment in open wells comes to about Rs. 1,800 crores and the wells have a combined capacity to yield 6.6 million m3 per day. Though the average annual rainfall of the district is about 3,000 mm, about 70% of these wells are non-perennial. Additionally, because of heavy surface run-off, groundwater levels in several blocks have fallen sharply, and coupled with saline intrusion at an accelerated pace, have led to water quality problems. In order to address the issues of quantity, quality and sustainability, the Thrissur district administration in collaboration with the PRIs have launched a process driven, participatory well re-charge programme called Mazhapolima, with an overall goal to improve the health and welfare of communities through improved access to drinking water.

The cost of the program, works out to an average of Rs. 1500 per open well. The total cost of about Rs. 920 million (Rs 92 crore) is envisaged to be financed largely by households themselves through demand generation, combined with ongoing decentralised programmes such as NREGP/GOK-GoI, and sponsorships. Informed decision-making, a menu of simple technical choices, strong IEC and awareness creation, with social marketing tools for generating demand on a campaign mode, and process orientation are fundamental aspects of the programme's approach. se-logo A Solution Exchange discussion on this topic as solicited by Mr Baby, recently concluded after eliciting a rich range of experience-based inputs. Access here: Mazhapolima - Participatory Well Recharge Programme Experiences

Official District Website - Thrissur District

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