Members of 82.2% rural households in Chhattisgarh walk almost 500m a day to fetch drinking water, which means they cover a distance equivalent to that between Gurgaon and Agra in a year.
Members of 93 out of every 1,000 households in rural areas have to walk 200m to 500m/day to reach their water source. 20 minutes a day (10 hours a month) spent on fetching drinking water means loss of a days wage or working hours for rural people. The corresponding figure for urban people is 7.5 hours a month
Waiting for turn adds to water woes
Another shocking figure revealed by the 69th round of The National Sample Survey is that people in rural and urban households, on an average, wait 15 minutes and 16 minutes a day respectively, at the principal source of water for their turn.
Clean water, a distant dream for many
The proportion of rural households that get drinking water within their premises is the highest in Punjab (84.7%) and lowest in Chhattisgarh (17.3%). Among urban areas of bigger states, proportion of households that have drinking water source within premises is highest in Himachal Pradesh (94.4%) and lowest in West Bengal (49%)
Millions forced to drink untreated water
Many households attempt to improve the quality of water they drink by adopting various methods for treating the water before drinking it. Only 1.7% households in rural areas of Uttar Pradesh, 2.2% in Bihar and 6.6% in rural Haryana are treating the drinking water by methods like boiling, filtering or use of chemicals and electrifiers. Among urban areas of bigger states, Kerala leads the list with 90.1% households treating water while Bihar had only 11.9% rural households doing the same. For Delhis urban areas, the figure stands at 44.1%
Quality of water
The survey has also ascertained the selected households perception on the quality of drinking water they received from the principal source. It was ascertained whether the water was bad in taste, bad in smell, bad in taste and smell, bad due to other reasons or had no defect. The households which said they found no defects are considered to receive good quality water.
It is clear that a lot needs to be done to ensure that more and more people in both rural and urban parts of the country have easy access to safe drinking water. Else, this walkathon will continue for years to come...