Water Lady of the Indian Village

“The Water Lady” of the village filling her neighbors’ water buckets

Villagers of Arjunabittahalli, India call her the “water lady.”  It is her dharma, her duty, to ensure villagers use the water wisely.  Every morning she turns on the water pipe’s valves in front of each home, the school, and the temples.

Young villager showing me the water tank next to the temple.
Young villager showing me the water tank next to the temple.

The water lady ensures that each home is not exceeding their share of water.  She also checks for leaks in the pipes to be sure it’s not wasted.  The water is sourced from a deep bore well, installed by the Indian government.

Abhalli Lake, the village’s less than half-filled lake, (mentioned in the last blog entry), would usually fill up completely for about two months during monsoon season.  The problem is that climate patterns have changed for this village, making monsoon patterns unpredictable.  There used to be steady monsoons, but not this year.  That challenges the plants and crops that rely on monsoons.

Another reason that the lake is not full likely has something to do with the non-native eucalyptus trees in the village. The British planted these trees from Australia with the intention of drying up malaria-infested swamps.  They may have served that purpose, but now these trees are multiplying exponentially and are still slurping up water from the ground like a straw.

As part of my yoga teacher training at the amazing Shrimath Yoga, we visited the village’s elementary school daily.  Up next:  how the 6 of us yoga teachers in training taught water conservation activities to 20 adorable kids, despite a language barrier.

42 thoughts on “Water Lady of the Indian Village

  1. Adele Dahlin

    Hi Laura — Your blog is wonderful! I started reading and went back all the way to your entries in May. Your writing is so engaging and personal, and what amazing photos — scope, composition, resolution, details — not to mention just the subject matter. The polar bear with the seal was breathtaking. If National Geographic ever needs another photo journalist, they should look no further than you. Happy traveling and take care! — Adele

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  2. Pingback: Co-teaching Water Conservation in an Indian Village… | Laura Schetter

  3. Andrew

    Water Women: One wonder that I have is that how does the water lady know how much water people are using. Another wonder I have is if the Indians were drinking the water out of a straw out of the ground, wouldn’t they get sick.

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  4. AAS

    Water Woman
    I noticed that the water woman makes sure that everyone is only using their share of water at their houses.

    I also noticed she checks all of the pipes to make sure that nothings wrong with them.

    Like

  5. Cody B

    They are very conscientious of water

    They only use 88 gallons of water a week we use 722.4 gallons in U.S

    We don’t even need wells but they need water and send someone to get water for everyone

    They only use little amounts of water for every thing.

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  6. C.L

    Water ladies job was to make sure the people used water wisely.
    Also she had to turn on everyone’s water pipes in the mornings
    She checks for leaks in the pipes

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  7. Kennedy

    Water Woman

    Why does only she turn on the water and make sure the pipes do not leak. How come a boy or man do it, it sounds like a job for a man.
    How come they do not just chop down the tree and go burn the tree or somthing. If it is taking the water then just chop the tree down.

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  8. DV

    Being the water lady must be hard work because she has to go all around the town turning on water pipe valves in the morning. It also seems hard because she ensures that each home is not exceeding their share of water. I think it must be hard for the village because if the monsoons are late then the plants might not grow as quickly and people may starve.

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  9. MJL

    I think that she is really kind and cares about others a lot to do that. I wonder what she would do if there was a leak. I also wonder why she does that, is their water limited? Is that just her job?

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  10. kadin

    Water woman tells about how a woman wanted to save water so every day shy would check the pipe and make sure they where in good shape and that no family was using more water than another.

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  11. KB

    I learned that the lady had to go to temples houses etc. and make sure the people there were using the right amount of water. She had to this every morning. It was her job.

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  12. LB

    I had never really thought about how much water that I use! I think that the water woman must have a pretty tough job because she needs to be responsible and it must be hard for her emotionally when she has to turn a family’s water supply off. I can’t imagine what a great person she must be! I would love to meet her. I noticed that the people of India are struggling and having a very tough time because their monsoon seasons are not happening regularly. I wonder if there’s something that we can do to help? I hope so! I also wonder how long it takes for the water woman to check each house and their water usage and supply.

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  13. B.T.

    The water woman in India makes sure people don’t use too much water or waste water. She turns on all the pipes in the morning in front of each house. That would be a hard job. It is incredible that in India they care so much about the supply of there water. In the United States we should be the same way.

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  14. Dino saur

    I noticed that they were low on water because the trees kept sucking up water and the monsoons didn’t came as often. I wonder why they didn’t cut the trees down?

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  15. JH

    I noticed that the British planted eucalyptus trees in the village, so that the trees would suck up the malaria filled swamps, and they are still taking the water out of the ground, sucking out all the water. Another thing I noticed is that the water lady went to every house, temple, or building to turn on the water pipe´s valve every morning. I wonder how much time it takes for the water lady to go to every house in the village to turn them on. Another thing I wonder is how or will they take the eucalyptus trees out of the village.

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  16. Ehomes

    It must be hard for the people living in that town to only be able to use a limited amount of water each day. That is crazy that a girl has to turn on and off the water to make sure you don’t waste any water. I could only imagine how hard it is to use a limited amount of water each day.

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  17. I.P

    Water woman: I think it’s amazing how this woman is so devoted to saving the amount of fresh water in her community so that they all of enough to live on. This entry makes me really think about the amount of water that is in this world and the amount that we as humans use everyday. After reading this I think I’m going to take even shorter showers!

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  18. Kearstin S.

    – I notice that the “Water Woman” is a very good person but makes sure that everyone uses only their water.

    – I wonder how monsoon patterns are unpredictable and how to track them.

    Like

  19. M.L.George

    I was wondering why the people didn’t dig out the trees (the ones taht suck up all the water) or cut them all down. I was also wondering how long it takes the water lady to do her job if she does it by herself? Thanks!

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  20. Lily

    This is really cool that this lady goes around and saves all of that water! That is a really good idea to go around and collect water and turn it off so that none is wasted!

    Like

  21. E.M.

    Its probably hard to live there with not very much water because, you cant take a long shower like a lot of people. You would have to take a very quick one. Its hard to use a limited amount of water when you dont have much water to use.

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  22. Steven Franks

    Why would the British planted trees to dry up swamps

    I can’t believe one lady checks all the pipes in the village.

    Their water pipes are above ground?

    I am really surprised we use on average 17.2 gallons of water per shower

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  23. Bertha Simmermeyer

    I think that she really cares about her community. I can tell she wants to save the water because she turns off and on the water everyday.

    Like

  24. PES

    It must have been hard going there because I am so used to using a lot of water when I do pretty much everything. I would never be able to survive that, you are so awesome.

    Like

  25. ARM

    These people must have a hard time conserving their water so that they don’t use it all. They have to make sure that they only use a certain amount of water each day. The lady that has to go throughout the whole town and make sure everybody is using their water responsibly. How long does that take?

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  26. Art Mister

    From reading this article I realized that I am lucky to live where I do. I live near the Lake Erie. If I was the water lady I would be tired every day. If I lived in the same village as the water lady, I would appreciate the water lady, because she turns the water on and off, she also checks all the pipes. For now on I won’t take long drink at the water fountain, because there are people who don’t have water or don’t have a lot of water. I will use water wisely.

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  27. Kira

    Its amazing that she can do all that and still tell how much water people are using.When I read though the article I noticed that she has to wake up early in the morning and go to bed working late. When I imagined myself doing that I thought about how much work that would take just to get the morning jobs done. Then I thought about all the the jobs for the rest of the day, I could only imagine how much work that takes. Then I thought about how hard it must be to use only a limited amount water a day. Then I also thought about how the british people planted the trees to suck up the water. They didn’t even think about what would happen in the future the the water supply. Then I went back to thinking about all the houses and temples the lady has to visit each morning and night. I think the water lady’s job is very important. Thinking about how much water I use I think we are very lucky to have water on tap.

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  28. AM

    Dear Laura,
    These are my comments for the Water Lady section you made.
    What is the limit for each home’s water usage?
    Why can’t they just pull the non-native eucalyptus trees out so the water can fill up like it should?

    Like

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