For the first 30 years of her life, Bijali had to walk for water.
“We collected drinking water from our village pond,” Bijali said. “The monsoon seasons were tough, as I had to walk through a waterlogged, broken path.”
Now, through a government initiative to install household water connections in West Bengal, Bijali has water at her fingertips, instead of having to spend time every day walking for water. This gives her more time to care for her family, and it allows her son to stay in school instead of helping her fetch water.
“Drinking safe water from the tap has brought better health and hygiene for the whole family,” says Bijali. “Our children are healthier and more energetic. I feel it is a blessing to our family to have access to safe water. In the future I am hopeful this will reduce water-related disease.”
Last year, every community in Bijali’s Block of Patharpratima was reached with reliable water service through access to hand pumps. This government initiative is taking that achievement one step further by bringing water service to the household level through piped water systems. Manoj Kumar Bisoye, a member of the local water committee, says this will have positive outcomes. “Government should ensure drinking water security by creating more piped water supply schemes,” Manoj says. “This will decrease usage of unsafe water sources.”
So far, Manoj says the government push for piped water systems has been successful. Communities are monitoring their systems and paying appropriate tariffs based on their metered water use. This means families like Bijali’s don’t have to worry about water and can focus on more important things like education, health, and family.