2nd Water Project ~ Anna Nagar, India
Anna Nagar, located about 15 miles west of Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu, consists of mostly huts with packed dirt floors and palm frond roofs. There are several new concrete homes built by Curt Degler and his organization Save Int'l. as well as a concrete floor, metal roof structure with open walls that serves a school/tuition center for resident children and youth. The residents in Anna Nagar, around 60 in number, all belong to the Irula scheduled tribal people. These people, who have long experienced discrimination, live isolated lives on the edge of communities of the scheduled castes and for the most part, they are desperately poor. The men make their living as occasional agricultural laborers, for example cutting down the thorn trees which are a blight on the land, or working on the casuarina trees that provide commercial wood used for wooden posts, the construction of huts, wood pulp, and so on.
The Irula people are for the most part semi-nomadic, but their presence in Anna Nagar goes back about fifty years due to an Irula man who agreed to work as a bonded labourer for a local landowner in exchange for permission to live on half an acre of land. In the course of time he and his descendants managed to purchase this land, something that is not at all easy to achieve for these tribal people.
The infrastructure in Anna Nagar is minimal and up until several years ago the residents depended for water from a municipal water source some distance away that provided, when all was functioning properly, water for half an hour a day. When that water failed, as often happened, they relied on a local community with whom, however, there has been a degree of antagonism and therefore there was uncertainty regarding water supplies. Among their greatest needs was an independent water source.
In 2016, thanks to funding provided by staff of the JosephJoseph company in collaboration with WaterBridge Outreach, SAVE Int’l installed a bore well and a hand pump in this hamlet. (Click here to learn about this project).
In the Fall of 2018, Save Int'l, with funding from WaterBridge Outreach, oversaw the overhaul of an old government installed bore well with non-functioning hand pump that was installed in Anna Nagar and has not worked for many years. The well required a deep cleaning to be reactivated and working with Save Int'l we hope to convert the well into a electric powered submersible pump with water holding tank. Curt Degler reports that "after cleaning it looks to be a good candidate with lots of clean water and there is functioning electric metered stanchion nearby with plenty of tested voltage to power the pump."