Drops do not discriminate: Addressing inequities and inequalities in access to water and sanitation in India - A short film by WaterAid, India

This video sheds light on the deteriorating water and sanitation situation in the country and questions the efforts being made at the policy level to deal with the situation

The video by  WaterAid, India points at the lack of awareness, planning and the poor water management practices in the country that have led to this situation by highlighting that even though the rainfall in India is in surplus with 1170 mm of rainfall every year, we continue to face scarcity of water every year. This is even when rainfall captured on just 2% of India's land can provide 100 litres of water per person everyday.

Water scarcity issues are found to be on the increase in the country with lack of access of majority of the populations to safe drinking water sources. Water quality issues have also been found to be a serious concern in major parts of the country. As high as 42% of the drinking water sources in India have dried up, 33% groundwater sources have been found to be unfit for drinking. Millions in the country are denied access to water and sanitation, inspite of India spending 2000 billion rupees on water and sanitation with 638 million people in the country still practising open defecation and lacking appropriate and adequate toilet facilities.Water related diseases are on the rise in the country, putting a huge economic burden on the health care system.

Recent years have given to rise to water conflicts and riots due to acute scarcity of water as evidenced from a number of newspaper reports both from urban and rural areas in the country. Scarcity of water combined with unequal access of different sections the population to water is also indicative of water being used as a weapon of mass discrimination. For example, dalits form one of the major workforce in India and still continue to be denied access to basic water and sanitation facilities. Manual scavenging continues to be rampant in India with the dalits being the major groups involved in the tasks of manual scavenging.

As high as 84 million tribal populations reside in India who practice sustainable lifestyles and are located in majority of the watershed areas in the country, but continue to be denied access to water. At the same time, mining, industries and deforestation continue to destroy their livelihoods. Women suffer the most as carriers and users of water and continue to be denied the very basic sanitation needs. For example, normal processes such as menstruation continue to be traumatic for women due to lack of access to water. Residents from slums in cities as well as majority of the rural areas continue to be denied safe drinking water and sanitation facilities. At the same time, in spite of need, no special provision is made for water to vulnerable populations such as people suffering from HIV/AIDS, differently abled as well as people from disaster ravaged areas.

The video ends by questioning and challenging the efforts made at the policy level and urges people at the policy level to take steps to bridge the gap between the decisions taken at the policy level and their implementation in terms of addressing inequities and inequalities in access to and distribution of water resources. The video ends by raising the question "Is there hope? Communities are doing their bit, will policies and action fall in line? Make inclusion water tight"

Please view the video below:

 

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