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Managing arsenic-safe water supply options in West Bengal, India: Problems and prospects from gender perspective
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering, Water Management.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6166-4992
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering, Environmental Geochemistry and Ecotechnology.
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering, Environmental Geochemistry and Ecotechnology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4350-9950
2006 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

While about a decade ago, developing appropriate hardware for mitigating the arsenic menace in West Bengal was the prime concern, today, safe water supply options almost abound in the affected local communities. The government has drafted a detailed program for mitigating the problem and international development agencies are actively supporting the various available options. However, the plight of the people does not seem to have been contained.

It needs to be increasingly realized that management of the available safe water supply technologies is the critical issue that will determine effectiveness as well as sustainability of the alternatives in the long run. So far, either centrality of the issue has been evaded or else the government has taken over the burden in relation to its own interventions. The community has been largely kept at bay or else involved in a piecemeal approach, without realizing that linkages between technology and society can be complex and intricate and that without effective participation of the users in planning and implementation, mere installation of technologies in the community cannot deliver the goods. The complexity of the linkages is furthered by the gender-based differences between women and men as water users. It is also aggravated by the level and nature of the technology, the major categories being community-level arsenic removal plants, deep tubewells, and treated surface water pipelines on the one hand and domestic water filters on the other. Community level rainwater harvesting is being developed as an additional alternative.

Based on an ethnographic study conducted in the state, this presentation aims at identifying the problems concerning management of the various kinds of safe water supply technologies introduced in the affected villages in West Bengal. The problems are first analyzed from gender perspective and then suggestions made for an appropriate gender-based approach to ensure effective community participation in the process of managing these alternatives. The recommendations aim at developing a model, which can help promote effectiveness and sustainability of technological options available for arsenic mitigation in local communities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National Category
Environmental Management
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-62741OAI: diva2:481048
International Conference on Groundwater for Sustainable Development: Problems, Perspectives and Challenges (IGC-2006), New Delhi, 2006
QC 20120123Available from: 2012-01-20 Created: 2012-01-20 Last updated: 2012-01-23Bibliographically approved

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