India Tops the World’s Worst Access to Rural Waters

67% of the 1.3 billion population of India lives in the rural areas and 7% of it has no access to clean water. (Salve, 2017). This translates to 63.4 million people suffering without clean water for drinking, cooking, and other daily household needs; which ranks first in the top 10 countries with worst access to rural waters. (Stewart, 2017)

According to the 2011-2022 Strategic Plan in Ensuring Water Security in Rural India, the goal is to provide at least 90% of rural households with piped water supply; at least 80% has piped water supply with a household connection; and less than 10% use of public taps and hand pumps by 2022.

However, due to the rapid population growth and climate change causing nationwide drought, access to clean water continues to decline. Groundwater contamination and sanitation problems aggravate the crisis in providing safe waters in the rural areas. Iron, Arsenic, and Fluoride causing harmful effects to health were found as top contaminants in the rural waters.   (Vyawahare, 2017) 44% of the total Indian population still practice open defecation. Over one hundred thousand people die of water-borne diseases annually. (Water Aid India, 2017)

Currently, the National Rural Drinking Water Program provides drinking water to 1.7 million rural habitations; 77% of it is fully covered, getting at least 40 liters per capita per day. 19.3% are partially covered with less than 40 liters per day, while 3.73% still have water contamination. (Salve, 2017) India’s rural poor especially those who live in remote areas suffer the most in this crisis. In April 2016, an 11-year-old boy from western Maharashtra died while fetching water from the well, while a 12-year-old girl died of heatstroke while getting water from a village pump in Beed. (BBC News, 2016) These cases would have been prevented if access clean water is available in the rural India.


Ensuring Drinking Water Security In Rural India (n.d.) Retrieved from

Salve, P. (2017). 63 Million Indians do not have Access to Clean Drinking Water. Hindustan Times. Retrieved from

Stewart, R., (2017). The World’s Worst Countries for rural Water Access. In Wild Water The
State of World’s Water 2017 Retrieved from

Stewart, R., (2017). The World’s Worst Countries for rural Water Access. In Wild Water The
State of World’s Water 2017 Retrieved from

Vyawahare, M. (2017) Not just scarcity, groundwater contamination is India’s hidden crisis.  Hindustan Times. Retrieved from

Water Aid India (2017). Retrieved from