Water and Sanitation is the first focal area that AFPRO has developed competencies of working in. AFPRO’s association and hence technical qualification with respect to the science of hydro-geology and hydrology (groundwater) can be traced back to its inception in 1967. Teams of geologists and hydro-geologists were entrusted with the provision of providing technical support and drilling of wells for drinking and irrigation purposes.
Scientific assessments of groundwater were pioneered by AFPRO as early as 1969 through the development of Yield Test Technologies. Yield tests represent a scientific assessment for determining well efficiency and aquifer performance while serving as decision support tools for installation of pumps of appropriate capacities. AFPRO’s experience and knowledge in groundwater assessments can be highlighted through its Capacity Building endeavours for officials of government departments of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Orissa.
AFPRO has also contributed significantly to the development of hand pump technology, joining hands with agencies like Vadala Mission, War on Want, Jalna and Sholapur Well Service. The efforts of these agencies culminated in the India Mark II hand pump designed and promoted by UNICEF during subsequent activities.
AFPRO’s experience with groundwater has over the years evolved into competencies that promote Sustainability of Drinking and Irrigation sources. Training modules have been developed and local communities (including women) capacitated on operation and maintenance of such structures. From scientific explorations of groundwater, AFPRO has evolved its strategies to incorporate local communities through the development of Participatory tools for the management of resources. Participatory techniques comprise of monitoring of wells through standardized well inventories, simplified water budgeting exercises and community awareness on water quality monitoring.
Ensuring potable water quality within the most remote areas of the North East has led to design of Water Filters with the dual functionality of the existing Horizontal Roughing Filter (HRF) and Slow Sand Filter (SSF) technology. Water and Sanitation are critical to human lives. Safe water and sanitation practices show immediate and long term gains. AFPRO work has brought safe water and basic sanitation closer home for the poorest especially among tribal families of the North East. Credited to AFPRO was the innovation of the Bamboo Leach Pit Latrines. Twin pit model with bamboo as the predominant raw material were designed to reduce costs and increase wider acceptability.
AFPRO has piloted innovative concepts of both ‘Water Safety Planning’ and ‘Water Security Planning’ high lighting the systematic role that such scientific tools can play both in engaging local communities and managing local resources.
AFPRO experience in water and sanitation can be highlighted through its collaborations with multiple funding agencies such as Swiss Development Corporation, UNICEF, Monsanto; and Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Rural Development; and Corporations such as ACC, BALCO, BILT, and BDL operating across the geographical spread of the country.