Transporting Water the Traditional Way

A human interest story by InfoChange India puts the spotlight on tribal women in Orissa who decided to take water woes into their own hands, rather than waiting for the government to finally recognize them.

Over a hundred women from the five villages embarked on a project to cut, polish and join bamboo pipes that would transport water from the stream to the villages. The plan was successful. Soon, water began to flow to the villages through the pipes and the arduous trudge up the hill stopped.

Government projects often focus on large development infrastructure, like dams. These projects do not always reach interior tribal areas, leaving rural needs neglected. On their own, these women were even able to take this initiative a step further:

During summer, however, the bamboo pipes could not supply enough water to the villages, even though the stream had sufficient water flowing in it. The women then began on the second phase of their project. They collected dry wood from the forests, cut the pieces into two equal halves and carved them into the shape of a boat. After joining the logs together, they were able to divert all the water from the stream to the villages. They built tanks in the villages to collect the water, and then transported it to their homes using bamboo pipes.

Social innovation does not always need technology – sometimes, all that is needed is a new take on a traditional approach, determined initiative, and a collaborative effort.

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