The standard of drinking water in India has improved in the last five years but a lot of work still remains to be done, the head of the World Water Council has said. World Water Council (WWC) recently carried out a major survey on water awareness in major parts of the world, including India. The survey was done ahead of the 8th World Water Forum that is scheduled to take place in the Brazilian capital Brasilia in March 2018. As per the survey, more than one-third of Indians think that not enough is being done to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to make water and sanitation for all a reality by 2030, World Water Council president Benedito Braga said.
“There has been some work done in the past five years to improve the drinking water standards in India. Of course, there’s still a lot of work to do there,” Braga told PTI. Braga said more than three quarters of the Asians were convinced that governments need to lead the fight to make global access to safe drinking water and sanitation reality. According to the survey, 31 per cent of Indians said they had been in a situation where it was unsafe to drink water but they had no other choice and suffered from diseases like diarrhoea and gastroenteritis.
A majority (71 per cent) of Indians said that safe drinking water had improved over the last five years. The survey stated that 62 per cent of the Indians said they believed that the government was doing enough to support access to safe drinking water. Referring to the ‘Swachha Bharat Campaign’, Braga praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his efforts towards clean drinking water and sanitation. “I think Mr Modi is very much concerned with water and sanitation issues. He has even appointed a special secretary in the ministry of water resources to deal with the Ganga River cleanup,” he said.
“I understand there is a major effort from the current aid in government towards improving water and sanitation access in the country. That’s my perception,” Braga said. “World leaders realise that sanitation is fundamental to public health, but we need to act now. In order to make water and sanitation universally available by 2030, we need commitment at the highest levels. Of equal importance is that water sources are being optimised to ensure that they are safe water sources,” he said.
Braga argued that for every dollar invested in water and sanitation, there is an estimated USD 4.3 dollars (400 per cent) return in the form of reduced health care costs for individuals and society worldwide. “This does not take into account the benefits to global development, which enables countries and societies to progress economically, culturally and politically. For example, for every USD 1 billion dollars invested in water and waste water, an estimated 28.5 jobs will be created,” he said.