Water Technology Park

Inauguration of Water Technology Park 2011 by Gramalaya (22.03.2011)

A Water Technology Park was declared open by Dr.P.Devados Manoharan, Vice-Chancellor, Anna University of Technology, Tiruchirappalli at National Institute of Water and Sanitation, Kolakudipatti village about 50 k.m. from the City. The park was established by Gramalaya, a voluntary organization working for the promotion of water, sanitation and hygiene. Speaking at the inaugural function, Dr.Devados Manoharan stressed the importance of reaching the needy people with appropriate technology on water, sanitation and other water conservation measures.

Water Technology Park by Gramalaya

The technology should be people friendly which should be simple, cost effective and should be maintainable by the community themselves. The people’s lives could be self sustainable only when they are provided with accessible sanitation, safe drinking water and clean environment. In the world about 45 million people migrated from their native places due to water scarcity. There would be a war for water in the near future between countries and states due to water shortage unless there would be conservation measures taken immediately.

The need for water increased 6 times when the population doubled at the same time. Our forefathers left a lot of traditional methods of conserving our water sources like the Grand Anicut ( Kallanai) built by the Chola King 1200 years back which is still functioning and catering the needs of agrarian communities. We should learn how to conserve our water sources with people centred approach. He further said that Anna University of Technology is interested in having a tie up arrangement with Gramalaya in the near future to extend its technological support in terms of water, sanitation and energy including research and extension. ren feces leads to a reduction of nearly 40 % in childhood diarrhea.

The Water Technology Park has on display a range of handpumps, miniature models of groundwater recharge structures, and live demonstration diagrams. The Park provides a valuable opportunity for members of local communities, health practitioners, NGO workers and government officials to engage with and learn about the various ways in which water is sourced, treated and conserved. The handpumps on offer range from the Long Handle deep well pump (Somnath pump) once common in rural areas, and shallow well models such as the popular Tara pump through to contemporary deep well models like the India Mark II, the most widely used handpump in the world today. These models give people the opportunity to witness firsthand the handpump technologies needed to address a variety of different contexts, from areas where the water table is high, such as coastal and river areas, to regions where it is necessary to dig deeper in order to access water. Furthermore, all pumps are functional, giving visitors the chance to try them out for themselves.

Miniature models of a check dam and recharge well give a valuable insight into the workings of large scale structures designed to recharge depleting groundwater reserves. Similarly, a range of diagrams – such as illustrations of watersheds, rainwater harvesting structures and the water cycle – allow visitors the opportunity to learn about the various stages and technologies involved in the supply of clean water to a community. In the centre of the Park is a kitchen garden which uses the runoff water generated by the pumps to grow food plants. The garden itself is maintained by children from the local community, teaching them and others the true value of water and the responsibility all of us have to use it wisely.

Complementing the already established Toilet Technology Park at NIWAS, the Water Technology Park has been established in response to demands from officials, donor organizations and others who visit Gramalaya’s Training Centre for exposure visits, training and research purposes. Last year alone, there were more than 1500 people from different parts of India and abroad who visited NIWAS and surrounding model villages. These model villages illustrate the successful implementation of a number of Gramalaya’s initiatives, such as eco-san toilets, low-cost toilets and rain water harvesting. At the same time the visitors were able to learn from the community based organizations (CBOs) who play an intrinsic part in the planning, implementation and sustainability of the projects. Gramalaya has also created a separate Department for Appropriate Rural Technology for Water, Environment and Sanitation (DART – WES) at its Training Centre. The intention of DART-WES is to aid the development of young professionals and research scholars from universities and other institutions based both locally and abroad. Gramalaya plans to set up a Technological Innovation Fund which will support research and other activities, in turn creating skilled water and sanitation professionals and social entrepreneurs.

Luke Whaley, a water and sanitation practitioner from London is helping Gramalaya to design various models based on the experiences and expertise available at the Training Centre. He is working on technical drawings and cost estimates of different toilet models and water models including rain water harvesting structures, handpumps, water filtration technologies and groundwater recharge structures like check dams, percolation ponds, borewells and dugwells. Furthermore, a booklet will be published by Gramalaya on the designs, estimates and the importance of different technologies in the field of water and sanitation.