In Photos: How Indian Women Walk Up To 5 Km Per Day Just To Get Clean Water

This post is a part of WaterAid India's campaign - In Deep Shit.

The words ‘water crisis’ is something Indians are no doubt familiar with and why not, when India has the highest number of people in the world without access to clean water. And the people who are hurt the worst of by this crisis are Indian women who not only have to run their households with the limited amount of water but also have to travel long distances to get the water in the first place.

For example, in 2012 rural women had to walk anywhere between 200 metres to 5 kilometres to access something as basic as water. Just to note, the World Health Organization considers any drinking water that lies more than 30 minutes away as ‘inaccessible’. Chew on that for a moment.

Local ladies gather to fill water from the only well in the area at Gorai village, Borivli. In cases of severe water shortage, women become the people in the family to travel long distances to fetch water. In some communities, men even marry a second or a third time so that they can have someone to fetch water for them. (Photo by Mahendra Parikh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
Villagers standing in a queue to collect drinking water from an almost dried up well at Padal village of Samba district. The drought has been ongoing for the past two months in the region, forcing women and children to walk miles to fetch water. The frequency of droughts has been increasing throughout the years, making sights like the above more and more common. (Photo by Nitin Kanotra/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
Villagers walk towards their village after collecting drinking water from an almost dried up well in Jammu & Kashmir. In 2017, farmers in J&K were hit by the longest dry spell in a decade. (Photo by Nitin Kanotra/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
A lady filtered water after collecting drinking water from an almost dried up well at Padal village of Samba district. Wells like these are often the only source of water for many villages and in cases of drought, they run dry soon. (Photo by Nitin Kanotra/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
Rains or no rains, these women from Mahatma Phule Nagar, in Borivali (W) spend at least two hours daily, waiting in the queue to fill water in their containers. Apart from drinking, many of their homes lack water for basic sanitation as well. Only 33% of country has access to proper sanitation. (Photo by Prasad Gori/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
A woman carrying empty cans to fetch water in Barfani Dham. With the passage of each scorching day and forecasts of a delayed monsoon, water worries for residents of Indore are only growing. (Photo by Shankar Mourya/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
Women carrying drinking water after standing in queue for around 5 to 6 hours to get water in Latur, India. Access to water doesn’t just involve travelling long distances, for many women it also involves standing in queue for many hours to get what should be a basic right. (Photo by Satish Bate/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
Women in a queue to get drinking water on April 22, 2016 in Latur, India. Many women are forced to go out in inhospitable conditions to get water, such as when a woman died from the intense heat while standing in queue to fetch water in Latur. (Photo by Satish Bate/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
Villagers standing in a queue to collect drinking water from an almost dried up well at Padal village of Samba district. Women of all ages come to fetch water, from schoolgirls to the elderly. It’s as if fetching water is seen mostly as a woman’s job. (Photo by Nitin Kanotra/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
A woman collecting water from a pit from riverbed due to drought in Maharashtra (Drought, Profile). Last year, over 29,000 villages in Maharashtra were declared to be drought stricken by the government. This is the second simultaneous year for the state to be facing drought. (Photo by Prashant Panjiar/The India Today Group/Getty Images)

There have been various initiatives started over the years by organisations such as WaterAid, the World Health Organisation and others, who have been working with grassroots communities (who are among the 77 million who lack clean water) to improve access to water and sanitation in India. Along with this, there have also been governmental initiatives such as the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and the National Rural Drinking Water Program. Nevertheless, with increasing droughts in states such as Maharashtra and Kashmir and the fact that women have had to travel increasingly large distances to have access water, it is clear that much still remains to be done.

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