"All of a sudden, water entered the house at night. Goods and cattle were submerged. There is no place to eat or drink. We have been in trouble for three days, but no one has come to help us.” The elderly Gauri Singh complains, with mixed feelings of anger, pain and helplessness.
Piramal Sarvajal, seeded by the Piramal Foundation in 2008, is a mission driven social enterprise which designs and deploys innovative solutions for creating affordable access to safe drinking water in underserved areas.
Latur in Maharashtra has been facing acute drinking water scarcity over the last month and has been in news again, and that too, inspite of having piped water connections and a good monsoon this year!
Water is a precious natural resource that ensures human well-being. However, across the globe there is a severe water crisis, which is heightened by issues of inaccessibility and contamination.
Efforts are underway by both state and central governments to improve access to safe and adequate drinking water to people, and nationally, as on 31 December 2018, 79% of rural habitations had been covered at 40 litres per capita per day (lpcd) but only 47% at 55 lpcd.
It’s a dull reality that the state of water in the urban slum of Lalbagh near Azadpur in north Delhi was awful till a few years back. Hoards of people would queue up to get water from the public taps or the tankers along the road. Life was tough here and people got access to piped water supply only recently.
After independence, India was largely food insecure but post Green Revolution around the 1970s, foodgrain production increased manifold consequently reducing food insecurity and poverty in the country, in spite of rapid population growth. Its ability to achieve targeted results was largely dependent on the explosion of groundwater abstraction mechanisms like tubewells.
India, a groundwater stressed country
“It is a lack of (institutional) capacity which is leading to public woes on water. We are not in a position to give you quality services because of two things – one, manpower, and two, finances,” said BWSSB Chairman Tushar Girinath, speaking at a panel discussion on ‘Sustainable, Equitable Access to Water’.
Pune continues to face a water crisis every summer despite having sufficient water, thanks to its geographical location and plentiful natural water assets. While enough of its water needs are taken care of by water supply from the Khadakwasla dam, the use of groundwater to meet the needs of the population continues to increase.