Despite progress in many other infrastructure and service provisions, providing access to potable drinking water remains a challenge in most rural areas. The complex aspect of this issue is that this problem defies natural conditions. Medium rainfall regions of Saurashtra and Madhya Pradesh, and high rainfall regions like Dangs in Gujarat, have problems of access, while the shallow ground water regions of North Bihar and Coastal Gujarat have problems of water quality. The Government has invested substantially to address this problem.,Though challenges persist to some extent, its impact can be seen in states like Gujarat which created a special purpose organisations like WASMO (Water and Sanitation Management Organisation). Bihar and Madhya Pradesh will need further investments, and special purpose organisations to address the problem on a large scale.
The increased sales of household RO units depicts that there is an increased awareness of the link between water quality and health, though the trend may be more urban than rural.
AKRSP(I)'s work in drinking water sector can be categorised as follows
- Promoting/improving private, household owned drinking water assets(Roof rainwater harvesting structures in Gujarat and hand-pumps in Bihar)
- Promoting village/hamlet level systems in collaboration with community institutions (panchayats/ collectives etc.), most of which provide water access at the household/ neighbourhood level.
- Promoting and operating low cost, block level water testing laboratories, which test water samples and educate villagers on water quality.
- Work pro-actively with the state governments to learn and share lessons to align policy and practice.