SRIKAKULAM: Despite having a drinking water scheme in the village, people of Donkuru in Ichchapuram mandal, still depend on water pits (chalamas) dug near the sea for drinking purpose. The fishermen’s village located at the extreme end of Andhra Pradesh, has about 3,000 population and 1,300 families.
Villagers say the quality of water drawn from chalamas is better than that being supplied by the panchayat. Women and children start arriving at chalamas to collect water from 4 am daily. The practice of collecting chalama water for drinking purpose has been continuing for quite a long time.
“I wake up at 4 am daily and rush to the beach to collect water from chalamas,” said Bade Kanthamma. “As per the understanding among women in the village, I keep my vessel in the line at chalama and wait until my turn comes. We have to wait for more than two hours to get a pot of water. As the water drawn from chalamas is fresh and pure, we don’t have any health problems even in the rainy season,” she added.
“We neither purify nor warm the water drawn from chalamas in any season. The chalama water tastes better. Chalamas take about 15 minutes to ooze a pot of water,” another woman said.
“We sunk wells and executed a drinking water scheme in the village to meet the water needs of people. But, villagers prefer chalama water,” said Dunna Lokesh, former sarpanch of Donkuru.
Another factor that contributes to the people’s dependence on chalamas is supply of water by the panchayat for not more than an hour a day in recent times. Though the panchayat is supplying water through a tanker, it is not adequate. Hence, villagers continue to depend on chalamas, he added.