How Far Villagers Travel For Water – Can We Help?

Meritnation|May 14th, 2015 01:15am

Water is considered the ‘Source of life’, but have we ever stopped to think how easily is it available to our villagers? 

As per a recent survey by the government of India, 65% of rural India needs to travel half-a- kilometer and beyond to fetch water. Only 35% of rural India does not need to travel for water. Moreover, the water that they do get, is highly contaminated leading to the spread of diseases in villages, which are already not best equipped to handle this.
We looked at the major challenges being faced here:

Challenge 1> Distance Rural India Needs to Travel to Get Water

The statistics above are extremely saddening, as even after 68 years of Independence, we are failing to provide basic amenities like water to our villages. Developed countries have managed to solve this problem by building dams and water reservoirs, and connecting them to homes, schools, parks and other public places, thus ensuring that the public does not face any trouble accessing water. But we as a nation have failed to provide clean and safe drinking water to each and every citizen of our country.
We are still struggling to find a tangible solution to this problem. In India major sources for water are rivers, springs, fresh water lakes, hand pumps and wells. For all the mentioned sources, monsoon plays an important role but one bad monsoon can change the whole scenario. Government of India conducted a survey and its findings are quite daunting.
Drinking Water Availability India How Far Rural India travels everyday to fetch drinking water
Some key points from the research are:
> People from rural and urban India travel up to 173 km a year to fetch drinking water.

> 82.2% rural households in Chattisgarh walk almost 500m a day to fetch drinking water.

> Rural households that get drinking water within their premises is the highest in Punjab with 84.7% and lowest in Chattisgarh 17.3%.

> Among urban areas of bigger states, proportion of households that have a drinking water source within their premises is highest in Himachal Pradesh with 94.4% and lowest in West Bengal with 49%

Challenge 2> Making Water Safe for Drinking

Getting water is just half the job. As most of the water sources are contaminated, some households attempt to improve the quality of water they drink by adopting various methods for treating the water like boiling the water, filtering or use of chemicals and electrifiers. Even here the numbers are not so promising and the contaminated drinking water leads to various waterborne diseases.

Only 1.7% households in rural areas of Uttar Pradesh, 2.2% in Bihar and 6.6% in rural Haryana are treating the drinking water by methods like boiling, filtering or use of chemicals and electrifiers.

Among urban areas of bigger states, Kerala leads the list with 90.1% households treating water while Bihar had only 11.9% rural households doing the same. For Delhi’s urban areas, the figure stands at 44.1%

So the real challenge is not just providing the water, but also making sure it is safe to drink.

How We Can Help

What do you think can be done to improve the water distribution system? Share your thoughts in the comments below.  We will be compiling the best ideas and sharing them with some NGOs that are actively working in this area.

By sending us your suggestions, you will be instrumental in improving the lives of all the people affected by this crisis!
*Data source:

Add Comment Total Comments (3)

  • 1. Resume on  |  May 22nd, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    It is really a matter of thinking. Our earth has 96.5% of water percentage. But still we are unable to provide water to our rural areas. There are many methods and techniques to purify water. Everyone have to work on this matter individually.

  • 2. Meritnation  |  May 21st, 2015 at 11:25 am

    Hi Jaideep,

    Thank you for your valuable suggestion. We are compiling a list of such suggestions and will be sending them to some notable NGOs who are actively working in this area. Hopefully we can together make some difference to the lives of our villagers 🙂

    Thanks again!

  • 3. jaideep naroo  |  May 15th, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    Dear Maritnation,
    This is the hand pump made by me which can help you in your project. this is the manual hand pump. this pump is manufactured in a way where it can draw greater water from down, as well for now its just a prototype.
    if u will give me your website name or address or any other link so I can provide you with the patents and blue prints which will contain new technique for the water purification and how the water can be made with some techniques which can provide villager family enough per day.
    so I will expect a reply for this step to help the victims suffering from the water shortage.
    thank you…


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