Over 100,000 villages in Kerala, spread across 14 districts, have begun to receive clean drinking water as part of the Jivamritam Project launched by Mata Amritanandamayi Math six months ago.
As many as 127 water filtration units have been installed by the Math as part of the project, which was inaugurated by President Ram Nath Kovind in October last year.
In the next two months, the Math plans to raise the water filtration units to 200, which would benefit an additional 60,000 people from the marginalised rural communities, a Math press release said.
Speaking on the World Water Day today, Director of Amrita Vishvwa Vidyapeethams Center for Wireless Networks & Applications, Dr Maneesha Sudheer, who heads the Jivamritam project, recounted the various projects undertaken by the Math relating to water conservation, distribution and management.
"Over the last six months, 50 faculty and staff and 200 students from Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham have worked tirelessly to instal 127 community water filtration systems in Kerala, including 55 in Alappuzha, 16 in Kollam, 11 in Thiruvananthapuram and 10 each in Thrissur and Kozhikode," he said.
By May-end, the total number of Jivamritam systems installed in the state will reach 200, offering clean drinking water to 60,000 more people. Most villagers in marginalised rural communities lack access to clean water and suffer from various illnesses due to consuming contaminated drinking water.
The project will help address the issues of water contamination and waterborne-illnesses in villages in Kerala, directly impacting public health, he said. The project was conceptualised and designed by the faculty and students of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham.
More than 40,000 hours were spent visiting villages in Kerala, conducting site surveys, engaging with community leaders, conducting awareness campaigns, and installing the Jivamritam water filtration systems.
The initial phase of the project, which aims to instal Jivamritam filtration systems for clean drinking water to one crore people spread across 5,000 villages in India, is funded by the Amritanandamayi Math at a cost of Rs 100 crore.
Each Jivamritam System can filter the daily drinking-water needs of up to 400 five-member families. The Vidyapeetham has also deployed a water-distribution system in the tribal village of Komalikudi in Kerala. It helps reduce the burden on young girls and women who need to walk several kilometres a day to carry water for daily requirements.
According to WaterAid India, approximately 76 million people in India lack access to clean drinking water and more than 60,000 children, especially under the age of 5 years old, die each year from poor sanitation and diarrheal diseases caused by drinking impure water.
According to UNICEF India, 67 per cent of Indian households do not treat their drinking water, even though it could be contaminated with harmful bacteria and chemicals.
(With PTI inputs)