More than 1,312 villages in West Bengal near the Ganges River are detrimentally affected by arsenic contaminated groundwater. A study done in 2000 showed that at least 10 million people living in West Bengal, including about 2.5 million children, were drinking arsenic contaminated ground water containing levels significantly above the limits set by the World Health Organization. As a result, almost 3 million people in the region suffer from arsenic related diseases.

Objectives: 

To reduce the health consequences of arsenic contaminated water in rural communities of West Bengal, India by in-situ treatment of groundwater in an affordable and sustainable manner.

Rationale: 
More than 1,312 villages in West Bengal near the Ganges River are detrimentally affected by arsenic contaminated groundwater. A study done in 2000 showed that at least 10 million people living in West Bengal, including about 2.5 million children, were drinking arsenic contaminated ground water containing levels significantly above the limits set by the World Health Organization. As a result, almost 3 million people in the region suffer from arsenic related diseases.
Innovation / Expected Results: 

A partnership of NGOs and academic institutions has designed a low cost, environment-friendly technology for the subterranean treatment of groundwater for both drinking and irrigation purposes to be implemented at the village level. Already a successful pilot, the project will target six additional villages in the region and establish the infrastructure needed for sustained production of this innovative technology based on the co-precipitation of arsenic and iron in sludge using an applied membrane technology. The system will be produced and distributed/serviced by local entrepreneurs and will be managed by self-sustained community groups with the support of classroom and hands-on training. This innovation is expected to reduce the incidence of arsenic-related health issues, generate employment and economic benefits in rural Bengal and can be a model for growth in neighboring districts and Bangladesh.