WASH and Water Security

Welthungerhilfe India, Nepal, Bangladesh

Title for Banner 1

Key Facts

Nearly 76 million

people in India don't have access to safe water (Source: WaterAid, UNICEF)

Over 770 million

people don't have access to adequate sanitation in India (Source: WaterAid, UNICEF)

Over 140,000 children

die every year from Diarrhoea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation in India (Source: WaterAid, UNICEF)

Our work

Home to about a quarter of the global population, South Asia faces severe water challenges. Rapid population growth, pollution and unplanned urbanization have hugely affected water availability in the region, which is also known for being highly susceptible to floods, droughts, and climate change related disasters.

The 2011 census in India shows that almost 70% of India’s rural and slum population (650 million) are exposed to water-borne and vector-borne diseases due to lack of safe water and adequate sanitation facilities and hygiene. Nearly half of India’s 1.2 billion people have no toilet at home and nearly 76 million do not have access to safe drinking water.

The lack of adequate sanitation and safe water has significant negative health impacts. The World Bank estimates that 21% of communicable diseases in India are water related. Of these diseases, diarrhoea alone killed an estimated 700,000 Indians in 1999 – over 1,600 deaths each day. The highest mortality from diarrhoea is in children under the age of five.

Realizing the urgency of the issue, we work to improve Water Security and Sanitation and hygiene amongst marginalized communities in India. Through our WASH project in the states of Jharkhand and Bihar, we seek to address water management problems at the local level, while strategically influencing policies at a higher level. Strong institutional mechanisms, community ownership and management, maintenance, repair, clearing encroachments, management of resources, and equitable distribution of water resources and enhanced access to entitlements from Government schemes are core features of the project.

With a larger aim to reduce poverty, we work to improve water management practices, particularly among small and marginalized farmers and disadvantaged population. Through our Integrated Water Management Project (IWRM) initiatives, we work to enhance institutionalised processes and mechanisms for community managed water resources and revive traditional water harvesting structures. In our intervention areas, we have introduced soil and water conservation using traditional practices and modern technology, micro irrigation models supporting usage of water efficiently, and trainings to community members on water testing and analysis as well as hand pump repair and maintenance. Multi-stakeholder linkages with Government and Non-Government agencies have been created and CBOs are capacitated to ensure the changes brought through these initiatives are sustainable.