Bala Vikasa

Location: India

Bala Vikasa is an Indian charity which promotes community-driven sustainable development through capacity-building; female empowerment; youth mobilisation and technical training. Since its founding in 1990, the organisation has reached over 6 million beneficiaries in India across 9 States.

NextEnergy Foundation is installing two solar-powered community owned and managed water purification systems with Bala Vikasa in two rural villages in India: Ragampet (Warangal District) and Pamena (Ranga Reddy District), Telangana State.

The 2 villages where the systems will be implemented were selected because of the poor existing water quality; willingness of the community to contribute financially; and, willingness of community to elect a Water Committee to manage the system (including 30% female representatives).

Following the installation, monthly meetings will be held by the Water Committee in each village to monitor the system maintenance. These will be attended by Bala Vikasa staff for the first six months.

June 2023 Update: The inauguration of the system in Pamena took place on 22nd June and the event was attended by Seshasree Parnam, Ramachandra Reddy and Lokesh Vangumalla from WiseEnergy. Please see some pictures of the event above: (1) Water purification plant room; (2) NEF logo; (3) First bottle of water purified by the system.

The system is generating clean water for 1,900 community members, 760 of whom are children, and the Water Committee which has been elected to monitor and maintain the system consists of 3 women and 6 men.

July 2023 Update: The inauguration of the second system took place in Ragampet on Tuesday 25th July. The WiseEnergy team was unable to attend on this occasion. However, Bala Vikasa advised NextEnergy Foundation that despite the heavy rain, the majority of the villagers participated in the inaugural event and expressed their heartfelt thanks to the Foundation for the installation.

July 2023 – Project Completion: A summary of the project and the impacts thus far is  below.

Overall Project

  • 3,300 people from 660 families with access to potable water.
  • 3,500 litres potable water generated per day by each system; 2.5m litres per year in total.
  • 194.2 tonnes CO2e displaced over each system’s 20-year lifetime.
  • 1.4 tonnes of SO₂ emissions displaced over each system’s 20-year lifetime.
  • 862.56 tonnes of NOx emissions displaced over each system’s 20-year lifetime.

Capacity Building

  • Village awareness meetings on the importance of water potability and the consequences of consuming unsafe drinking water held prior to the installations – attended by over 90% of families in the villages and facilitated with posters.
  • Roles and responsibilities of the communities to maintain the systems established by Bala Vikasa staff during the meetings.
  • Villages elected water committees composed of 9 members per village (see table below), and one operator was nominated per village – they were all trained about the system operation and management over two sessions and also visited Gangadevipalli, a renowned model village in the state, in order to see the systems before they were installed in their villages.
# Village Male Female Total
1 Pamena 6 3 9
2 Ragampet 5 4 9
Total 11 7 18

Resource Mobilisation

  • Communities were motivated to mobilise 20% of the cost for the project in the form of a membership fee – this was crucial for the communities to feel a sense of ownership and genuine participation in the project.
  • Project rooms: The community of Pamena had an existing room repaired to house the system, whilst the community of Ragampet had a new room constructed with donations from local donors and part of the mobilization fee.

System Installation

  • The systems were assembled by technicians from the component supplier together with the village operators and water committee members.
  • Additional onsite training was given by the technicians to the operators and committee members.

Project Inauguration

  • Pamena: System inaugurated on 22nd June and ceremony attended by XXX.
  • Ragampet: System inaugurated on 25th
  • Communities have fixed a price of ₹ 5/ 20 liters water (GBP 0.05).
  • The water committees sold pre-paid cards to the community members which can be recharged – water cannot be bought in cash in order to ensure the transparency of the revenue and track the water usage; the water committees will record the water consumption; revenue generated from the water sales; and, expenses incurred for the project maintenance, and will report accounts in monthly meetings which will also be attended by Bala Vikasa staff.

Future Impacts

  • Improved health in the two communities from a reduction in water borne diseases.
  • Revenue and expenses will be recorded every month and monitored by a Bala Vikasa coordinator. Annual General Body Meetings will be organised by the water committees and all community members will be invited; during the Meetings, the committees will present the balance sheet and O&M undertaken during the year, as well as plans for the upcoming year.

Bala Vikasa will continue monitoring the project for NextEnergy Foundation for the next two years, and project reports will be submitted annually to track the ongoing impact of the solar-powered water purification systems.