What we do

Everything we do is about getting safe water, sanitation and hygiene to everyone, everywhere. We make change happen.
WaterAid/ Adam Ferguson

Water, sanitation & hygiene in urban areas

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With a population of over a billion people, India is home to 17 per cent of the world’s population. As per the 2011 census, 31.16 per cent (377.10 million) of India’s population lives in urban areas. The divide between the rich and poor is huge and over a quarter of the country’s urban population lives in poverty. WaterAid recognises that in order to ensure universal access to basic water, sanitation and hygiene services in urban areas we need to be innovative and find new ways of engaging the local government and service providers.

WaterAid India’s urban strategy sets the context, priorities and change objectives to guide the process of adoption of city-wide approaches in our work on urban WASH. We are working in 21 cities and towns of India with support from 14 local partners.

Through our work we reinforce the right to basic WASH services for the urban poor and marginalised. Our aim is to ensure that the urban poor gain access to improved water, sanitation and hygiene services using innovative approaches and people centric technologies. We support urban local governments to engage people in developing inclusive plans to achieve sustainable change at city-level. The process includes systematic situational assessment, demonstration of replicable models to serve low income settlements, capacity building of stakeholders and advocating for scale-up, city wide campaigns to enhance people’s awareness on their roles and responsibility, and providing technical support to local governments on specific aspects like monitoring, technologies and research.

WaterAid India and our partners have identified the following five thematic focus areas for our urban WASH work:
  • Right to Sanitation in urban areas including faecal sludge management;
  • Right to safe water supply particularly for urban poor;
  • Personal hygiene including menstrual hygiene management;
  • Capacity strengthening of urban local bodies for improved solid waste management; and
  • Creating successful models of operation & maintenance for WASH facilities in schools.

Our work in India

We work with government institutions at the district, state and national-levels to inform them of the ground realities

Toilet fact

44 per cent of the total population in India still defecate in the open.

Open defecation causes chronic diarrhoea that leads to stunting.