India is currently ranked as one of the world’s worst countries in terms of water quality and availability. As per the Indian government think tank Niti Aayog, around 200,000 Indians die every year due to lack of access to safe drinking water and close to 600 million are facing high to extreme water stress.
Geographically, India has an annual rainfall of 1170 millimeters and is blessed with natural water resources in the form of lakes and rivers. However, due to rampant and unplanned industrialization and growth, more than half of the rivers in India are highly polluted making it a public health crisis that costs the public exchequer millions every year.
Failure in water harvesting and conservation magnify the existing problem leading to a scenario where the urban hubs get access to potable and safe water while rural villages are starved for water resources. According to the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, more than 19,000 villages across India don’t have access to regular water supply or any kind of water pipeline. Villagers often have to walk nearly 15 km every day to fetch water and over 4% of India’s rural population is forced to drink contaminated water.
The biggest victims are women:
Women are by far the biggest victims of the water crisis in rural India are they are charged with the task of gathering water every day for use in their homes and in their farmland. Rural women are often forced to take multiple trips (an average of 5 – 20 kilometers) per day to local well or lakes just for a day’s supply of water.
The women are forced to load pots, jars or buckets on their heads to carry water. Over time the intense pressure leads to backaches, joint pain, constant weariness, and intense physical strain.
Often young girls in rural India share the burden of fetching water and splitting the household chores with their mothers. This far too often leads to them dropping out of schools as they are unable to cope. In cases where they are able to attend school, they are often too tired from their daily struggle to focus on their school work. Lack of access to clean water and sanitation also increases the risk of waterborne diseases such as Diarrhea, Hepatitis A, and Leptospirosis leading to prolonged sick days and often discontinuation of education.
The RiteWater impact: Clean and safe water made accessible.
RiteWater is providing a solution to the water crisis in rural India through its multiple public-private partnerships, community initiatives, and purification technologies. Projects such as the Rite Water ATMs have made potable water accessible in rural villages at a highly affordable rate of 25 paise per liter. Until now over 1,500 community water treatment plants have been installed that purify 250,00,00 liters of water every day.
To know more about how Rite water’s water conservation and quality improvement initiatives log on to http://www.ritewater.in/