Access to clean drinking water is a fundamental human right, yet millions of people in India continue to suffer from water scarcity and lack of sanitation. As per the NITI Aayog report of 2018, almost half of India’s population faces extreme water stress. Lack of clean, piped, potable water forces people to rely on other not-so-clean water resources, which ultimately lead to health hazards.
India is home to almost 1.3 billion people, out of which 91 million individuals (6% of the population) are unable to access safe water and 746 million people (54%) do not have access to adequately managed household sanitation facilities. Latest data indicates that approximately 25% of India’s population resides in impoverished areas and slums, where the daily struggle for clean drinking water persists. Within urban slums, only approximately 50% of the population has access to clean drinking water, resulting in a multitude of health issues and detrimental impacts on livelihoods.
How lack of clean drinking water impacts lives of urban slum dwellers and folks from other rural regions
- In urban slums, where the population is dense, access to clean water is limited. While the notified slums do have limited access to clean drinking water, the non-notified slums suffer from the lack of it. They are compelled to buy water from vendors, who often sell it at high prices.
- A major problem is that often people who face water scarcity or vendors who sell water illegally tap into the city water pipelines. Though a survival strategy for them, this can actually compromise the safety of water supply through cross-contamination.
- The consequences of drinking contaminated water can be severe, leading to a range of diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and dysentery. In slums and rural areas, where medical care is often scarce or inaccessible, these diseases can be life-threatening, especially amongst children, senior citizens and pregnant women.
- Women and children, who are often responsible for fetching water, spend hours each day walking to distant sources, instead of utilizing this time for their education, work, or other activities that could help lift them out of poverty. The high cost of buying water also puts a strain on already scarce resources.
DROP – Drinking water provided in Rural and poor areas On Public drinkers
Recognizing the severity of the problem, Saint Dr. MSG has launched the inititive ‘DROP – Drinking water provided in Rural and poor areas On Public drinkers’.
Under this initiative, the Dera Sacha Sauda volunteers would set up clean and filtered drinking water dispensers at public places. Potable water is the most basic human need, and with access to clean drinking water, the incidence of waterborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and diarrhea will significantly reduce. This initiative will also improve livelihoods for individuals and families, as they will no longer have to spend a significant amount of their income on buying clean water or on medical expenses due to illness caused by contaminated water.
Under the pious guidance of Saint Dr. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan, 65 million volunteers have pledged to be a part of the ‘DROP’ initiative and help provide clean drinking water for impoverished communities in their regions. This is a great step that will not only improve health outcomes but will also promoting socio-economic development in these areas. Let’s all join hands and be a part of the ‘DROP’ initiative.