Drinking water in rural India: a study of deficiency, quality and some social implications

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There is no doubt that accessibility of drinking water for rural households in India has increased over the decades, partly owing to concerted efforts by the state and partly owing to a rise in income of the people. Public provision of drinking water is primarily made through the tap whereas private provision is through the tube well. Households opt more for a tube well than for other sources owing to its reliability. The study finds a highly significant positive correlation between overall deficiency index and poverty ratio, a significantly negative relationship between the literacy rate and the percentage of cholera cases at times of deficiency.

Drinking water in rural India is contaminated and about 18% of rural households are reported to have filtered their drinking water but very few have scientifically treated it before drinking. All this indicates that there is a greater need to improve the water supply including quantity, quality, accessibility and dependability. An integrated water management approach has to be adopted to improve and build upon the existing structure which is highly decentralized and dispersed. This would have important bearing on poverty reduction, environmental sustenance and sustainable economic development.

Keywords: Accessibility, Disease, Illiteracy, Poverty, Water quality

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