Harnessing natural resources to improve lives

By Vijay More, member of the Rotaract Club of Lote, India

Being a part of a Rotaract Club has always been inspiring to me, allowing me to do good for my community with fellow friends. Members of the Rotaract Club of Lote in Gavatha, India, wanted to understand and solve prolonged electricity problems in a nearby village. The village is situated in the Sahyadri Valley with a population of 210 people living in 64 homes. The region is sometimes affected by wild animal activities and there are no street lights, making it difficult to pass by road at night.

I wanted to address these challenges. My fellow Rotary friend Sanket Chalke and I took initiative and conducted a geographical survey of the region to establish a micro-hydro power project. Micro-hydro power harnesses energy from falling water sources. As a result of our assessment, we found a suitable area where a natural resource of water was available around the clock throughout the year, enough to generate electricity from a hydro turbine (a rotary machine that converts potential energy of water into mechanical work). We presented our project ideas to the Corporate Social Responsibility Committee of Rallis India Industries, who took interest in working with us and immediately provided the required funding to carry out project.

We got to work right away. Building a dam and laying a penstock pipe line in the village was challenging work. It took eight months to construct a dam and get the pipe line ready. Club members and neighboring villagers contributed to the project by providing hands-on support.

There are now 62 street lights installed on all roads, illuminating almost the entire Lote Gavathan village. We have future plans to train and motivate women living in the village to start a small-scale business using the same electricity during day time. Because of this project, the same water is being used for irrigation without pumps. So now, no electricity is required to pump water to farms saving almost 30kW of electrical power. People used to farm only during the rainy season, but now they can farm throughout all seasons. We, along with Rallis India Industries, have helped change the lives of villagers through this project and look forward to continuing to work in this community.

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