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41% Odisha households lack access to safe drinking water, govt must act: NGO study

By Our Representative 

To deal with the upcoming heat wave conditions and address persistent water scarcity issues among rural households in the state, the Odisha government should initiate timely actions to ensure safe drinking water for all, revealed a study report conducted by NGO Atmashakti Trust and its allies Odisha Shramajeebee Mancha and Mahila Shramajeebee Mancha, Odisha.
The study, which was undertaken between January to mid-February this year in 9,856 villages under 866 gram panchayats of 89 blocks in 15 districts (Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Kandhamal, Nayagarh, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Bolangir, Sundargarh, Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Gajapati, Boudh, Nabarangpur, and Deogarh) of Odisha, revealed that out of 9,37,152 households, 40.55% of them lack access to safe drinking water which is alarmingly high.
The study points towards some alarming trends:
  • Of 32960 tubewells/hand pumps surveyed, 12481 (40.93%) are not working.
  • Of 12478 total stand posts, 6066 (48.6%) of them are found defunct.
  • The study findings reveal that nearly 6675 (56.12%) villagers use contaminated water in their consumption. While 28.51% of villagers use muddy water, 29.55 % find iron in their drinking water.
  • Of 9,37,152 households, over 15000 households are deprived of any kind of regular drinking water sources and fully dependent on streams, ponds, and chuans (excavated subterranean water).
  • Overall, 3,68,694 households lack safe drinking water, which is an alarmingly high 40.55% of the total population.
“Despite implementing Jal Jeevan Mission and the Odisha government’s Basudha scheme, safe drinking water continues to elude many rural areas in the state. To avoid this alarming situation, the government should expedite the implementation of its schemes to solve water problems faced by the people,” said Ruchi Kashyap, executive trustee of the Atmashakti Trust.
The government should immediately initiate action through its Rural Water Supply & Sanitation (RWSS) to repair defunct tube wells/bore wells and stand posts, the study insists. Also, water that produces muddy and/or iron content should be treated well before to avoid contamination.
Simultaneously, the report recommended that dry pockets/water scarcity hotspots be identified to ensure water availability through tankers to people grappling with drinking water issues, the report suggested.
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Click here for the study report “Safe Drinking Water: An Alarming Situation”

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