Drinking Water Purification Project

Water Infrastructure : Swaroopnagar, North 24 Paraganas, W Bengal

Aim: To filter and supply arsenic free, safe and clean drinking water to locals in the arsenic red zone- Swaroopnagar and Bhaduria blocks of North 24 Paragnas district,W Bengal.

Status: Project has been funded by Kara Foundation and completed in 2 phases.

Swarupnagar is situated in North 24 Paraganas District in West Bengal. It is located 30 km from Barasat which is the district headquarters. North 24 Paraganas district is a part of the Gangetic delta that lies east of River Hooghly. Therefore, it is filled with swamps and water canals.

Map of Swaroopnagar Block showing diferent revenue villages the block with diferent levels of arsenic contamination

Map showing the region as arsenic red zone

Other issues that plague these regions include human trafcking both internal as well as cross-border trafcking.

Their daughter was kidnapped and trafficked 5 years ago while they were in UP to do labour work.They have tried all means to find her but have failed.

Bangladeshi migrants talking to us about their experiences and challenges

Many of these villages are located at the Indo-Bangladesh border. Therefore, they have been occupied by refugees who fled Bangladesh at the time of war. While their problems have been addressed to some degree. But improving livelihood options and water quality in these regions is paramount to their long term sustenance.

Why is the project needed?

Swaroop Nagar block is a highly arsenic contaminated zone. Based on WHO and Indian Government standards this entire belt is a red zone. Due to lack of alternatives many people are forced to use hand pumps dispensing arsenic contaminated ground water. This is exposing the locals to unsually high levels of arsenic, leading to numerous deaths due to arsenic poisoning.

A local woman near Bithari filling contaminated ground water for drinking.

Surface Treatment Plant Images

Clean drinking water can be supplied to the region from this filtration facility at nominal prices. But surface water can dry up during summer months and hence is not a reliable source for consistent supply of filtered water through out the year.

Post discussions with Bithari Disha, our local NGO partner and observing the region, an immediate solution was required to prevent further consumption of the contaminated water.We decided to kick start and sustain the project in two phases.

Phase 1

Water Purification Project – Phase II

Second phase raised INR. 2,84,700 through Kara Foundation to match the daily bottling capacity with daily filtering capacity of 16,000 lts/ to make the project sustainable and fund its own future development and growth to increase water access to the people in the region through the profits generated from the operations.

This has helped generate higher revenues and in future might decrease overhead cost due economies of scale.

The 2nd phase has enabled ROMF and its local NGO partner Bithari Disha to do the following.

Current Status

The project is currently on track to run at the potential discussed in phase 2 i.e. to provide 16,200 litres each day. The plant operations will be streamlined and the plant operated at full potential by the end of January 2018.