The dire water shortage in villages of the Marathwada region in Maharashtra has inspired a large number of water conservation drives and guidelines in the city in the past few months.
Taking a step towards resolving the crisis, students of five colleges associated with Anubhav Mumbai, an NGO which collaborates with college students to drive social change, carried out a water collection drive in Goregaon from March 24.
Bringing together households in Goregaon (West), 50 students from Vivek College, KES College, GTS College, Vidhya Vikas and Shailendra College went door to door collecting water for the villagers of Mankhurvadi in Beed.
“We went to a number of houses starting from 8 am and asked for as much water as they could spare. When we explained that the water was for the families in Marathwada, each house gave us more than what we expected,” said Siddhi Sakpal, 19, of KES College.
The students divided themselves into pairs and went to 50 housing societies and to areas such as Motilal Nagar, Teen Dongri, Prem Nagar and Jawahar Nagar asking for a minimum of one litre water as contribution.
“We collected approximately 110 bottles from every building with seven floors and 10 apartments on every floor, which is why the drive ended as late as 3 pm in the evening,” said Siddhi.
The drive resulted in the collection of over 15,000 litre of water, including both drinking water and for other purposes.
“We took up this issue after we were approached by the NGO ‘We the People’ as currently there is no bigger crisis in Maharashtra than water shortage. We were joined by students from Nirmala Niketan as well. We planned the drive over four days and the people of the targeted areas have been extremely responsive,” said Swati Rane, Facilitator at Anubhav Mumbai.
The collected water was transported to Mankhurvadi in trucks after the distribution to villagers was approved by officials in Beed.
The villagers were directed to consume the sealed bottles of water for drinking and the rest for other purposes.
Mankhurvadi is among those villages in Marathwada that receives water only once in 8-10 days. This drive insured the village against a water shortage for a span of five days.
“It was a crucial experience for me. I learnt that when communities come together to help one another even large crises can be resolved. This is not a final solution to the water shortage, but even a temporary one at this point makes a big difference,” said 19-year-old Sonali God, student of Vivek College and a volunteer in the drive.
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