For World Water Day this year, the Delhi office of WaterAid India organised week long activities. The first one was Walk for Yamuna on March 20, 2016 to understand the life and health of Yamuna River – the lifeline of Delhi. The walk was guided by Dunu Roy, a well known city water analyst. On March 22 a press conference was organised in collaboration with UNICEF where the State of the World’s Water was released to media. The report gathered huge media coverage in India in leading newspapers like Times of India and news wires like Associated Press and PTI. We also supported UNICEF, and the Nine Is Mine campaign on Raahgiri (an open streets initiative) on 27 March in Delhi by organising WASH awareness activities.
In Bhubaneswar city, WaterAid India collaborated with Odisha State Water and Sanitation Mission (OSWSM), Government of Odisha. A half-day consultation was organised with representatives from OSWSM, selected District Water and Sanitation Missions (DWSMs), executive engineers and superintendent engineers from the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWS&S) Department, Government of Odisha, representatives from other departments like Panchayati Raj, Health & Family Welfare, and Women & Child Development. During the discussions, it clearly came out that instead of providing water sources, the focus should be on access to water for drinking and domestic purposes for all. A handbook on inclusive WASH design for Persons with Disability (PwD) in Odia language developed by WaterAid and published by OSWSM was also released.
In Mahoba in Uttar Pradesh, a programme was organised in collaboration with District Administration and District WASH forum, which was attended by volunteers, elected representatives and school children. WASH champions were felicitated on the occasion. In Lucknow a rally was organised with community leaders and school children, which culminated at Nagar Nigam Park with a pledge on sanitation. In Bihar, World Water Day was celebrated to generate awareness on saving water, and the campaign was integrated with government initiative in making arsenic-free Bihar. In Samastipur and Muzaffarpur districts, the day was celebrated with panchayat members to make water security an agenda in coming Panchayati Raj Elections.
In Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh, WaterAid collaborated with its partners SaciWATERs and Arghyam to organise a discussion on the theme ‘Water for sustainable inclusive growth’. Eminent dignitaries, researchers, representatives from state policy circles, and experts from urban and rural water security, water quality, water sanitation & hygiene (WASH), and water resource management participated in the event. It was inaugurated by Dr BV Papa Rao, Principal Political Advisor to the Chief Minister of Telangana. He spoke on the series of initiatives taken by the current state government in reviving traditional water management practices, water harvesting structures, and ensuring piped drinking water supply to every home in the state. A technical report on the Status of Water Quality Testing Laboratories in Telangana was also released. Two panel discussions were held on water security and water quality with a focus on increasing demand for safe water to the citizens.
In Raichur in Karnataka, our partner Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement (SVYM), organised an event to spread awareness among people on the importance of judicious water use and safe water. About 350 school children, and government health personnel, took part in the event. Awareness was generated using WASH related games, distribution of handouts, and essay-writing competition for college students.