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Creative (and successful) ways towards potable water accessibility for the urban poor

July 31, 2013
Solar Powered water ATMs in Ahmedabad, India ©

Solar Powered water ATMs in Ahmedabad, India ©

I read about five successful and creative initiatives to bring clean water to the urban poor this morning and jumped with joy, yet again.

The author of the article, Josephine d’Allant writes that “In India, women are forced to orient their entire day around collecting expensive and unsafe water”. I cannot emphasize this fact enough. I have written about this issues time and again on my blog. The readers  know very well. Women and water is one of the closest issues to my heart. If any or every effort goes to alleviate the women and water related drudgeries, then I am the first person to cheer for it.

The author goes on to cite examples from world’s five fastest growing cities

  1. Ahmedabad, India
  2. Mexico City, Mexico
  3. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil 
  4. Lagos, Nigeria and
  5. Jakarta, Indonesia

I am slightly disappointed upon noticing that once again the northern Indian states and cities have lagged behind in implementing such strategies or techniques to benefit the urban poor. With nation’s capital’s poor struggling for potable water supply and fast emerging cities in the National Capital Region of Delhi, it’s imperative to implement such techniques sooner than later.

The author also cites an interesting item for potable water’s availability in the form of plastic pouches or sachets as shown below.

Who is buying this? ©

Who is buying this? ©

Anybody and everybody reading this blog can identify this water packet being sold unabated on buses en route Delhi to Meerut as well as other cities. Having witnessed the “hygienic” conditions under which these (and other bottled water) are being packed in my hometown, I have been always wary of seeing people buy them to quench their thirst.  I saw this trend continuously throughout my career spanning around a decade in India while working on various water related issues.

As seen elsewhere, the author also goes to demonstrate, through examples, that these schemes are managed by the local communities benefitting from them. This shall help ensure the longevity of such schemes.

The author concludes the article by saying “Although not perfect, these solutions are important steps in expanding access to clean water in some of the cities in the Global South.”

I see this as a positive and sustainable step towards providing relief to women and young girls, whose lives otherwise revolve around collecting and providing potable water for their family and themselves.

Visit to read more about these innovative approaches and discuss other projects you may know about.



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