Over sixty years after independence, about 85,000 habitations lack access to safe drinking water (Source: indiawater.gov.in, as of 1st April 2013). And according to Census 2011, about 70% rural households lack access to toilets with all the accompanying consequences on public health, economic productivity and well-being. Despite enormous sums being spent by governments at state and central levels, the progress has been disappointing.
In a country as large and diverse as India there are many interconnected reasons for the lack/slow pace of progress in the water and sanitation sector. Amongst all the environmental infrastructure sectors, water is perhaps the most complex one. A combination of several issues all contribute to the eventual poor reliability of water and sanitation service to millions in our country. These include – governance, social, gender and caste-based inequity, technical, and environmental among others.
Addressing the water and sanitation challenges that the country is faced with, calls for innovation, the ability to absorb risk and working towards long-term systemic change, which is why Arghyam decided to dedicate itself to the cause of improving access to drinking water and sanitation.