“One in three people live without sanitation. This is causing unnecessary disease and death. Although huge strides have been made with access to clean drinking water, lack of sanitation is undermining these advances. If we provide affordable equipment and education in hygiene practices, we can stop this senseless suffering and loss of life.”
Cape Town in South Africa hit the news a few years in 2018 when it nearly hit ‘Day Zero’. Day Zero is the day when a city’s taps run out of water and running water has to be stored and supplied. Cape Town and other parts of South Africa rely on rainwater for their water supply. Like many parts of India, monsoons can bring a limited supply of water that does not meet the enormous and ever-increasing demand. Drought conditions exacerbate existing water scarcity in many parts of the world. Sadly, Day Zero may soon sound less like something from a Hollywood film and more a part of our lived experience.
UN SDG Goal 6 focuses on Clean Water and Sanitation. The targets under this Goal include providing safe and affordable drinking water, access to sanitation facilities, improving wastewater treatment, increasing water-use efficiency and many other areas.
The poor and marginalised are the worst affected by this inequitable access to water. They often lack easy access to clean drinking water and sanitation facilities. People in urban and rural areas spend hours a day gathering and storing water. This impacts not just access to drinking water but also health outcomes that result from drinking untreated and hygienic water. In India, 5 of the top 10 killer diseases of children aged 1-14 in rural areas are related to water and sanitation. Almost 500 children die every day from diarrheal diseases.
NGOs working in this area tackle the issue from different angles. Aga Khan Agency for Habitat India is an NGO listed on the HelpYourNGO website. They worked to make Shiwli village in Palghar, Maharashtra open-defecation free (ODF) as part of a CSR project supported by Quantum Asset Management Company and Quantum Advisors Private Limited. We know that goals are better achieved in partnership with others. AKAHI worked with another NGO AROEHAN, local government agencies and community representatives to create 173 sanitation facilities and increase awareness of their use. Around 800 beneficiaries had access to safe sanitation facilities. Resident Bachi Gangaram Saura shared that “Earlier I had to walk upto 2 kilometers in this hilly area in the dark. There are so many animals and snakes in this area especially during monsoons. Now I don’t need to walk a kilometre..now we reach the toilet in less than two minutes.”
Samerth Charitable Trust in Gujarat works extensively in the area of water management in areas facing water scarcity. They have constructed, revived and recharged over 240 ponds, wells, step-wells and roof water harvesting structures. The use a combination of scientific and traditional knowledge to help communities understand the water cycle and become sustainable. Thanks to their efforts, many families have stopped migrating to cities and have increased their income from farming and cultivation due to increased availability of water.
Water is linked to so many aspects of life. Now is the time to stop taking it for granted and put our energies into protecting and preserving it in its various forms.
PS: You can read our blogs on the other UN Sustainable Development Goals here.
Good news! To make life easier for our users and donors, HelpYourNGO has collated a list of verified non-profits working towards UN SDG 6 across rural and urban India. Once you’ve found an NGO you like, click on the ‘Donate Now’ button and fill in the mandatory information, as required by the Income Tax Authorities. Once you have completed your donation, HelpYourNGO will send a confirmation email to you. A donation receipt along with the Sec 80G certificate will be shared within 3 days of the donation being processed. No hassles for you!