The primary responsibility of fetching water lies with women and girls in rural India. This daily chore is time-consuming and physically demanding. Treading long distances to fetch water often leads to a loss of productive time and a lack of opportunities for education and earning an income.
The same was true for Anita and many other women in Durga Nagar Township, Khatamba village, Dewas district, Madhya Pradesh, until a community water tank was constructed in their area. Anita used to walk long distances to fetch water for her family of five. Durga Nagar Township is a migrant’s colony where majority of households are below the poverty line and stay in kutcha houses. Since the township had severe shortage of drinking water, in December 2021, S M Sehgal Foundation (Sehgal Foundation) in collaboration with John Deere under the Integrated Village Development Project (2021–25) constructed a community water storage tank in Durga Nagar Basti. Nine such water tanks have been constructed under the project across sixteen project villages in district Dewas.
Under Jal Jeevan Mission, a minimum service delivery of 55 lpcd has been allocated for rural areas. However, long power outages in rural areas, along with the lack of piped supply or storage, led to only a few households gaining access to water, depriving the others. The 25,000-liter capacity water tank stores water through the panchayat bore well, which is available for use around the clock.
Getting the community together was initially a challenge, as a few people damaged the under-construction tank; however, community-level meetings on the benefits of the tank helped convince them to come forward to be part of a maintenance committee comprised of village representatives.
Anita expressed her gratitude to Sehgal Foundation and John Deere, as the tank provides her family access to water that is used for drinking and other daily tasks.