On April 20, community of Nizampally, located in Telangana, India, marked ten years of safe water, provided by Safe Water Network’s oldest-running iJal Safe Water Station. Minding social distancing protocols and donning facemasks, community members decorated the plant, adorning the entrance with a beautiful rangoli (a colored sand decoration) and posters on the walls.
Safe Water Network India's Head of Operations, Shanker Batra, recalled the opening of this first station, which has served as a template for more than 270 stations that have been launched in Telangana since. He argued that the station’s longevity is a testament to Nizampally’s desire and capability for community management.
When interviewed, an executive from Modern Architects for Rural India (MARI), who has been helping Shanker and the India team since the beginning, became nostalgic, saying that iJal flows in his body. Of our partnership, he added, “There is no MARI and Safe Water Network, there is only Team iJal. Long live Team iJal!”
A local community leader praised the stations, and called it a “lighthouse for the region” that has often attracted sarpanches (elected decision-makers) and villagers from neighboring communities, who have wanted to tour the grounds and taste the station’s water.
The operator on hand expressed his appreciation for members of the field service team, whom he views as his greatest partners in running the plant efficiently: “They are just a call away.”