How big is the task?
In India, only 32% households have tap water supply from treated sources, as per Census 2011. 18 percent or 6,25,000 households in the capital city, home to the nation’s rich and influential, do not have piped water supply. Yet, this city has one of the highest percentages of households with piped water among India’s 35 states and union territories. Only seven of these 35 have tap-water supply in over 80% percent households.
“Jab source mein paani nahin hain, toh nal mein jal apna aap thode banega?,” asks Rajendra Singh, award-winning water-conservationist whose 35-year work-stint with four colleagues in arid Rajasthan has made 1,000 villages water sufficient. “When the source has no water, will the tap produce water by itself?”
In six months from now, by the year 2020, 21 Indian cities, including Delhi, are feared to run outof groundwater. “They’ve built Akshardham temple and Commonwealth Games Village on Delhi’s water bank, so there’s no recharge of groundwater” says the conservationist, referring to the Yamuna floodplain. A river’s floodplain is the area surrounding it that absorbs the most water to recharge groundwater.