It's the height of summer in India, and once again, the issue of water scarcity comes to the fore. To spread awareness on the need for various stakeholders to join hands and #partner4water, ACF launched a digital campaign to promote collaboration in tackling the crisis. A live panel discussion is also scheduled on Friday, 5th 2020 which would include panelists like Rajendra Singh, Water Man of India, Magsaysay Award Winner, Indian Conservationist and Environmentalist, Niyati Sareen, Project Director- Water, Hinduja Foundation, Dr. Sanjay Belsare, Chief Engineer & Joint Secretary, Water Resource Department,, Government of Maharashtra and Pearl Tiwari, Director & CEO Ambuja Cement Foundation. This panel will discuss about the possibility to explore the relevance & contribution of WATER to the macro environment and livelihoods as well as the importance of continuing to invest in it.
The recent COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the use of water across the country, with increased demand for it due to increased washing and sanitizing to decrease the risk of infection. The average household has a 30-50% increase in water demand to meet the recommended guidelines outlined by the Government to tackle COVID-19 - i.e. 10 x 20 second hand wash per household using 1-2 litre per person per hand wash.
In rural communities, where water is scarce, COVID-19 has further complicated the many complex issues surrounding water.
- How to social distance whilst collecting water at wells/pumps?
- When there is barely enough water for daily needs, how to meet Government Guidelines for handwashing and sanitising to control COVID19 virus spread?
- How to maintain hygiene at public water sources like hand pumps, public water distribution stands - when 40-50 families are using handles â€¦ how to maintain the hygiene and prevent contamination?
- People use village ponds in some places for drinking water and in other places for bathing - how to ensure ponds do not get contaminated?
Ambuja Cement Foundation has found that the water resilient communities where they have done extensive work, in collaboration with Government, Corporates, Civil Society and Communities, are better equipped to handle the increase in demand:
- Households with their own Rooftop Rainwater Harvesting System are self-sufficient in water and can maintain social distancing norms.
- Extensive work done on groundwater recharge has ensured that private and public wells are full.
- Water distribution systems installed in communities have de-centralised access to water across village i.e. in Ambujanagar ACF promoted the installation of taps at household level, whilst other communities they increased the number of distribution points which means fewer people using each source.
- The revival of traditional systems of water harvesting has increased the capacity and availability of water year round which means communities are not facing water shortages during this time.
To explore ways in which you can #partner4water and help address India's water crisis, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.