Quenching thirst

When the Marathwada region of Maharashtra was reeling under severe drought, with scanty rainfall, rivers and dams going dry, the villagers depended solely on water tankers for their water needs. The ­Rotaractors of the region rose to the occasion and did their bit to help the underprivileged villagers tide over the water crisis.

Filling water into a tanker.

“When we heard that the water crisis was the big reason for the  farmer suicides — over 400 —  in the State, we felt miserable. That was when we unanimously decided to reach out, in whatever way ­possible, to help the distressed villagers,” said Dhruv Gujrati, former ­president of Rotaract Club of Aundh and ­incoming DRR of D 3131.

When we heard that the water crisis was the big reason for the farmer suicides — over 400 — in the State, we felt miserable.

The club teamed up with Tahan, an NGO in ­Maharashtra, and Rotaract Club of Latur ­Midtown, D 3132, to provide water to the villagers of Latur through water tankers. Each tanker cost ₹2,500 and “we raised ₹150,000, enough to send around 50 water tankers to the village. The joy the villagers felt at the sight of the water tankers made us realise that water, that we take for granted, is indeed a valuable elixir for them.”

Rotaractors of RAC Aundh provide water in a village.

Additionally, the Rotaractors transported 6,000 barrels of water from Pune to Latur through a train plying between Mumbai and Latur. “The Railways did not charge us anything for that,” says Gujrati.

The members are now ready with bio-filters and solar lamps. About six bio-filters, each costing ₹5,000, and 100 solar lamps will be set up in the nearby villages by January in the first phase.

The joy the villagers felt at the sight of the water tankers made us realise that water, that we take for granted, is indeed a valuable elixir for them.

There are about 50 Rotaract clubs in Pune, and “together we raised ₹50,000 to fund the solar lamps. The look on the faces of the villagers after we install the biofilters or the solar lamps is something to be cherished and that gives us a real high,” says this final year ­engineering student, who was adjudged best president of D 3131 during his year.

The ­Rotaractors are planning to conduct awareness programmes in the surrounding villages to educate people on effective water ­utilisation and ­rainwater ­harvesting, besides a tree plantation drive, both for water conservation and as an ecological initiative.

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