The Central and State governments have been consistently trying to improve access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene in both urban and rural areas. Despite the efforts and different schemes a large section of people from poor socio-economic background are yet to get access to safe drinking water and sanitation.
A large number of disadvantaged communities, especially in urban slums, across the country lack access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). A recent survey by Delhi government found that nearly 44% residents in the city slums depended on bottled water for drinking. The report prepared by the data processing and analysis unit of the Directorate of Economics and Statistics of Delhi government mentioned that the number of households using bottled water as primary source of drinking water doubled between 2012 and 2018.
The problem for the urban poor could be compounded in the future as many cities in the country are heading towards a major water crisis in future. According to a 2020 study by the World Wide Fund for Nature, around 30 cities in India will face ‘grave water risk’ by 2050 due to overcrowding. Another recent NITI Aayog report predicted that depleting ground water in 21 Indian cities including major metros like Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad will affect 10 crore people.
At the same time, most of the cities in the country can’t meet the per capita water supply limit of 135 litres per day, set by the Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organisation, a body under the Urban Development Ministry. A recent UNICEF study revealed that 5 crore people in 15 cities lacked access to safe, affordable drinking water.
Intensive and sustained efforts are required to create more equitable access to basic infrastructure to improve the habitats and living conditions of residents in urban slums. Most of the people residing in urban slums don’t have access to safe drinking water, tap water and irregular supply of the water also worsens the situation for them. There are several hurdles including contamination of water resources, ageing supply infrastructure and leakages among others which needs to be addressed to ensure safe drinking water for urban poor.
Mission Paani, an initiative by News 18 and Harpic India, aims to amplify and consolidate efforts towards ensuring access to safe drinking water for every Indian.
You can be part of this revolution too, and join the Mission Paani initiative. For more information log on to Mission Paani and Join the Movement