WHY WATER ?
as you read this sentence
fight for access to clean drinking water near them- the highest number in any country across the world.
This means that 163 million Indians struggle every day for this most basic of human rights upon which depends their thirst, their hunger, their personal hygiene, their livelihood and their protection from deadly diseases found in polluted water.
polluted water kills
Indians per year
and causes 36,000 others to fall sick every single day with water-borne illnesses like cholera, typhoid, viral hepatitis and acute diarrheal diseases.
women, and often children, in rural India walk an average
5-10 kms per day
carrying upto 15 ltrs of water, often risking physical and sexual assault, to access, gather and transport back home the water they consider safe to drink.
But this doesn’t have to be India’s story of woe.
Access to clean water can gift India’s rural communities:
Health: 80% of all water-born diseases are eliminated if the source of water is clean.
Education: Children are freed from the burden of gathering dirty water, and can instead focus on their education.
Safety: Women and children no longer need to brave unsafe environments in their search for water.
Hope: Water access breaks the cycle of generational poverty, and frees people to chart their own future.
Living Water Is Writing A New Story Of Hope For India’s Rural Communities By:
1. Identifying communities in need, surveying and studying their personalised requirements.
2. Drilling borewells and installing handpumps for shortlisted communities.
3. Training communities to use and maintain these resources in partnership with local leaders and government bodies.
4. Testing and monitoring the borewell water and checking equipment functionality over the next five years.
From 1998, we have built and installed
Borewells & Handpumps
uplifting over lives in rural communities.
“Every day I used to leave my children, both less than two years old, alone at home while I walked a kilometer away to the nearest borewell to fight for my chance to collect water.” Ranjitha, 23
Meet Ranjitha, an agricultural labourer and a mother of two toddlers in Kulakkanatham village, rural Tamil Nadu, India. Her land has seen much political upheaval in the recent past leading to little development and great struggle for families like hers who live below the poverty line.
For three years now the largely agrarian community has only been able to farm their traditional crops of cotton and corn for one half of the year because they have no source of water that can last them the second half. They depend solely on the heavens for rain, and hence even the existing crops yield lean harvests. For the rest of the year, the farmers scrounge for alternate work - some become shepherds, others odd-job labourers - all looking to somehow feed their families.
For 23-year-old Ranjitha, the day begins at the crack of dawn. If luck is on her side, she may score some water jostling with the rest of her village at the township standpipe which works for about a half hour every alternate day. But most days, luck isn’t on her side. Hence she must walk a kilometer away to the nearest borewell that’s accessed by several communities besides her own, wait in queue hoping that her two babies are safe alone at home, brave abusive fights in competition with the other women hungry for water too, and then finally walk back home with her precious but weighty cargo.
On the days that she can’t make this arduous trek, she settles for water from the muddy pond near her home that’s also home to several hundred frogs. When Ranjitha took our Living Water team to see this dirty pond, a dog dived into the cool water to save itself from the scorching heat. “We use this water for all our domestic needs like washing clothes and dishes and sometimes even for bathing if we can’t get water anywhere else.”
Ranjitha then looked at our shocked faces and said, “I know people like you from cities can’t imagine the extent we suffer here for water. We are waiting for the day when we can get a permanent, reliable source of water that lasts us the whole year.”
That day came in July 2018, when Living Water completed and dedicated a borewell and handpump exclusively for Ranjitha’s community. As the village gathered around, children and elders in tow, the Panchayat Secretary spoke for the village, thanking Living Water for this lifesource and promising to take care of it for generations to come. The community then attended our Hygiene and Sanitation training course to learn about how best to benefit from this new resource. Ranjitha spoke for the community when she said,
“Now that we have a hand pump in our vicinity that gives us sufficient clean water, we can save so much quality time that we can spend with our families! We can also go to work peacefully, not worrying about the availability of water for our needs when we return.”
By 2024, India’s Jal Jeevan Mission aims to equip every rural household with potable water and by 2030, the United Nations aims to achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all the world.
At Living Water, we stand in solidarity with these national and international organisations, and join forces with them to achieve these goals, starting with the communities we serve.