Member Profile: Project Well

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Project Well works in an arsenic affected district of West Bengal, India, providing modern dugwells with handpumps that are chlorinated once a week. To make the program sustainable, Project Well organizes and educates communities to stop using arsenic contaminated water, and trains users to maintain their wells.

Date Founded 2004-04-11
Primary Focus Drinking Water - Community
Secondary Focus Hygiene Education
History of Water Projects
Related work not on PWX.

The program began with the first dugwell in 2001. By 2004, 34 dugwells were constructed in different villages in the Deganga Block and by 2009 additional 78 dugwells were constructed in Habra and Gaighata blocks of North 24 Parganas district in West Bengal, India (map available on Project Well website). The areas where most of the wells are located are severely affected, and 75% of the tubewells of Deganga are contaminated with arsenic. Prior to dugwell construction, meetings are organized with the villagers to discuss maintenance of the dugwells and the benefits of drinking arsenic-safe water. In 2010, the main objectives of the program are to expand into other arsenic-afflicted districts (Nadia and Murshidabad); to validate, through field testing and analysis, that our bacterial prevention measures are working; and to continue our public education on the dangers of consuming arsenic contaminated water.

Organization Background

Millions of people are exposed to arsenic in drinking water in West Bengal, India, and neighboring Bangladesh. Project Well (2001) has developed a sustainable, community-based program to provide arsenic-safe drinking water. Traditional dugwells, modified to reduce potential bacterial contamination, are constructed at carefully selected sites. The shallow dugwells are packed with coarse sand around the annular space to enhance groundwater storage and also act as a filter. The dugwells are fed by rain water and are therefore not contaminated with arsenic. Wells are also protected from external contamination by a net cover and a tin roof. Water is chlorinated regularly and withdrawn via traditional hand-pumps. For pictures, published reports and newsletters, please access

Project Well has constructed 112 dugwells and has been monitoring the project, through monthly surveillance, for efficient use of the dug wells. The geology of the arsenic contaminated area is carefully studied and well depth is chosen accordingly. Every year the design is improved based on consumer reports. In 2008, a newly designed dug bore well was introduced with success: it is deeper and provided water to 75 people in May, the driest month of the year. In 2009, 15 additional dug bore wells were constructed.

The new users are trained for a year on dugwell maintenance, including disinfectant application. No reports of diarrheal disease have been received from consumers; on the contrary, there have been reports on improvements in health, and demand of dugwells in some areas have increased.

Project Well helped Blue Planet Run organize the trip for the movie "Water: A Clear Solution" in 2004, and jointly fundraised with BPR through participation in the San Francisco Marathon in 2009.

Annual Water and Sanitation Budget
(in USD)
Bank Info
Aqua Welfare Society A/C No. 30034942280 Router No. 700002174: 000368 10 IFS Code- SBIN 0008210

Construction of MODERN Dugwell in West Bengal, India