Kathmandu. “There is so much water problem in our village that girls are sent to fetch water in small containers when they are 5-6 years old. I myself have started carrying water from the age of eight. ‘
This is the statement of Babita, 19, who lives in Madhya Pradesh, India. She has dug a hill with hundreds of women in her village Agarotha and paved a 107-meter road for water.
The water crisis in this village in Chhatarpur district is so severe that in summer, two thousand people have to live on water drawn from the ground.
Babita says, there are so many water problems in our village that sometimes your turn comes only when you wait for a long time in the stream. When there is not enough water, farming cannot be done well. Water is also needed for animals. At the same time, there is a dispute over the filling of water in the tap and a situation of hand-wringing is created.
The problem here is not just the water crisis. It has also caused other problems for women. Due to water crisis, women have been facing domestic violence in Agrautha like other villages in India. The water crisis has also been a factor in marrying girls at an early age and preventing them from going to school.
Babita says, ‘You have to line up here at four in the morning to get water and then stay in the tap till 12 o’clock. After that, you have to come home and try to fetch water once again in the evening. Many times women have been torturing their mothers-in-law and husbands because of water. Because when they go to fetch water, they have a fight with other women and at home they have to answer many kinds of questions.
How did you decide to dig the mountain?
Babita says, ‘It was not an easy task. We thought that everything would be fine if water came, but when the people of Jal Jodo campaign came to our house and suggested that water could be brought in this way, then we thought that water could be brought. There were some problems but everyone wanted to work together and the work was done. ‘
Local women as well as migrant workers returning from several days’ trek have made significant contributions to the transformation of the village. Ajay Singh, executive officer of Chhatarpur district, said, “In April and May, women started digging in the hills and carrying water to their villages after a crackdown on corona epidemics.” Good luck to them for that. ‘
How easy was the work?
Most of the village of Agrautha falls in the high plains. Water is found here at a depth of about one hundred meters. However, digging a well here is more difficult than digging a well in a field.
Considering the water crisis here, the government had also allocated budget to provide water. Under the government’s plan, a dug well was built on 40 acres of land in the village. This well was connected to the forest. However, there was no way to get water into this well. Most of the water in this forest goes to the Bachedi river. Thus, the problem of how to bring the forest water to the well remained.
After a long deliberation, they decided to bring as much of the water from the forest to the well as possible. Then all the villagers decided to bring as much water as they could to the well. Then they started digging the mountain. After the construction of the road, some water came to the dug well when it was raining and the water crisis in the village has been removed for the time being. However, it has brought great relief to people facing water crisis.