Photos: The reality of water in India at ‘The WASH Photo Project’ Exhibition

Updated On Mar 24, 2019 02:21 PM IST

Water that is safe and clean might be easily available today but 600 million Indians face high to extreme water stress and about two lakh people die due to inadequate access to safe water every year according to the Niti Aayog’s Composite Water Management Index 2018. Many have to walk miles or spend hours or do both every day just to fill a few buckets that are most likely neither clean nor safe. Seven shortlisted #WaterFellows have documented the story of water: the crisis and the solutions across urban and rural communities in India as part of WaterAid India’s first ever photography fellowship, ‘The WASH Photo Project 2018-19’. The exhibit is on March 22-24, 2019 in Delhi.

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“In our village, most people suffer from stomach illness and body ache,” said Hira Lal (35) from Pevandi in Kanpur district, Uttar Pradesh of the water they drink, pointing to the drain towards the farm, a mix of water from the river Ganga and toxic waste released by neighbouring tanneries --sometimes treated, sometimes not. Locals said that their drinking water is salty and turns yellow when kept for longer durations. (WaterAid / Poshali Goel) View Photos in a new improved layout
Updated on Mar 24, 2019 02:21 PM IST

“In our village, most people suffer from stomach illness and body ache,” said Hira Lal (35) from Pevandi in Kanpur district, Uttar Pradesh of the water they drink, pointing to the drain towards the farm, a mix of water from the river Ganga and toxic waste released by neighbouring tanneries --sometimes treated, sometimes not. Locals said that their drinking water is salty and turns yellow when kept for longer durations. (WaterAid / Poshali Goel)

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“The doctor told me that my fingers are deforming as a result of drinking groundwater polluted by leather tanneries close by,” said Rajendra Kumar (35) who lives in Sheikhpur in Kanpur district, Uttar Pradesh, home to numerous leather tanneries. (WaterAid / Poshali Goel) View Photos in a new improved layout
Updated on Mar 24, 2019 02:21 PM IST

“The doctor told me that my fingers are deforming as a result of drinking groundwater polluted by leather tanneries close by,” said Rajendra Kumar (35) who lives in Sheikhpur in Kanpur district, Uttar Pradesh, home to numerous leather tanneries. (WaterAid / Poshali Goel)

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Sanjali Hasda lives in Asanbani village in Pakur district, Jharkhand with her two daughters. The village suffers from acute water shortage and is dependent on just one well and two streams that are perpetually dry. A few years ago, her elder daughter, Talabati (7) experienced severe stomach ache and would often fall sick. (WaterAid / Proneet De Kashyap) View Photos in a new improved layout
Updated on Mar 24, 2019 02:21 PM IST

Sanjali Hasda lives in Asanbani village in Pakur district, Jharkhand with her two daughters. The village suffers from acute water shortage and is dependent on just one well and two streams that are perpetually dry. A few years ago, her elder daughter, Talabati (7) experienced severe stomach ache and would often fall sick. (WaterAid / Proneet De Kashyap)

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Even though the elders feared that the lack of clean water was taking a toll on the younger generation, they consulted a local faith healer, popularly known as a witch-doctor. The superstitions led to Talabati’s stomach being pierced with warm needles multiple times to relieve the pain. (WaterAid / Proneet De Kashyap) View Photos in a new improved layout
Updated on Mar 24, 2019 02:21 PM IST

Even though the elders feared that the lack of clean water was taking a toll on the younger generation, they consulted a local faith healer, popularly known as a witch-doctor. The superstitions led to Talabati’s stomach being pierced with warm needles multiple times to relieve the pain. (WaterAid / Proneet De Kashyap)

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Chandu Devi and Shalgi Devi at the well in Alakdiha village in Gaya district, Bihar. Women endanger their lives and the lives of their babies, risking falls as they precariously balance on logs to pull water. A long walk through the jungle is the only way to reach this isolated tribal community. Women spend hours and walk miles every day to collect water which isn’t necessarily clean. (WaterAid / Aoun Hasan) View Photos in a new improved layout
Updated on Mar 24, 2019 02:21 PM IST

Chandu Devi and Shalgi Devi at the well in Alakdiha village in Gaya district, Bihar. Women endanger their lives and the lives of their babies, risking falls as they precariously balance on logs to pull water. A long walk through the jungle is the only way to reach this isolated tribal community. Women spend hours and walk miles every day to collect water which isn’t necessarily clean. (WaterAid / Aoun Hasan)

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Murali, a farmer from Ramapuram, Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh, stands in the farm where he grows tomato and beans. With the help of a local NGO, the quality of water sources in this area was tested as high bacterial contamination was found earlier. (WaterAid / Rohit Kumar) View Photos in a new improved layout
Updated on Mar 24, 2019 02:21 PM IST

Murali, a farmer from Ramapuram, Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh, stands in the farm where he grows tomato and beans. With the help of a local NGO, the quality of water sources in this area was tested as high bacterial contamination was found earlier. (WaterAid / Rohit Kumar)

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Murali testing the quality of water at his water pump. WaterAid India works with local NGOs and trains farmers like Murali to test drinking water quality by providing pH scale test cards and water testing chemicals. These tests are usually done twice a year – pre and post monsoons. (WaterAid / Rohit Kumar) View Photos in a new improved layout
Updated on Mar 24, 2019 02:21 PM IST

Murali testing the quality of water at his water pump. WaterAid India works with local NGOs and trains farmers like Murali to test drinking water quality by providing pH scale test cards and water testing chemicals. These tests are usually done twice a year – pre and post monsoons. (WaterAid / Rohit Kumar)

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A ward in Sondhi village in Gaya district, Bihar is home to over a hundred families, but has only two hand pumps. One is an old styled hand pump, difficult to operate and often dry in the summers due to depleting ground water levels, the second one is fixed near Gauri Devi’s house, a ward member, who has been fighting for roads, water and proper drainage in her village. (WaterAid / Aoun Hasan) View Photos in a new improved layout
Updated on Mar 24, 2019 02:21 PM IST

A ward in Sondhi village in Gaya district, Bihar is home to over a hundred families, but has only two hand pumps. One is an old styled hand pump, difficult to operate and often dry in the summers due to depleting ground water levels, the second one is fixed near Gauri Devi’s house, a ward member, who has been fighting for roads, water and proper drainage in her village. (WaterAid / Aoun Hasan)

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The job is tough as the ward comes under the disputed land category even though the community has been there for over five decades. Gauri Devi spearheads the fight which has become so entangled that the lack of access to water is no longer an issue of denial of basic amenities, but has become an emotional struggle governed by water. (WaterAid / Aoun Hasan) View Photos in a new improved layout
Updated on Mar 24, 2019 02:21 PM IST

The job is tough as the ward comes under the disputed land category even though the community has been there for over five decades. Gauri Devi spearheads the fight which has become so entangled that the lack of access to water is no longer an issue of denial of basic amenities, but has become an emotional struggle governed by water. (WaterAid / Aoun Hasan)

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Women from the Bhuiya tribe, an indigenous community in Gadia village in Deogarh district, Odisha break into an impromptu dance and distribute sweets as the first hand pump is installed in their village this year in January. (WaterAid / Meenal Upreti) View Photos in a new improved layout
Updated on Mar 24, 2019 02:21 PM IST

Women from the Bhuiya tribe, an indigenous community in Gadia village in Deogarh district, Odisha break into an impromptu dance and distribute sweets as the first hand pump is installed in their village this year in January. (WaterAid / Meenal Upreti)

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Prior to this, the villagers were dependent on rain-fed streams in the forest located around 2-3kms from the village. Gadia is home to around 30 people from the Bhuiya tribe. Men from the tribe work in the forests while women manage children and take care of household chores. A majority of the Bhuiya women have a characteristic nose piercings and their tattoos. (WaterAid / Meenal Upreti) View Photos in a new improved layout
Updated on Mar 24, 2019 02:21 PM IST

Prior to this, the villagers were dependent on rain-fed streams in the forest located around 2-3kms from the village. Gadia is home to around 30 people from the Bhuiya tribe. Men from the tribe work in the forests while women manage children and take care of household chores. A majority of the Bhuiya women have a characteristic nose piercings and their tattoos. (WaterAid / Meenal Upreti)

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Until a few years ago, people in Bamuliya Dauraha village in Sehore, Madhya Pradesh walked 2-3kms to collect water several times a day. Some adults had to let go of jobs and children would often skip school. The installation of water points and storage tanks has brought the village access to clean water. The tank is centrally placed so that residents don’t have to walk long distances. (WaterAid / Sachin Mishra) View Photos in a new improved layout
Updated on Mar 24, 2019 02:21 PM IST

Until a few years ago, people in Bamuliya Dauraha village in Sehore, Madhya Pradesh walked 2-3kms to collect water several times a day. Some adults had to let go of jobs and children would often skip school. The installation of water points and storage tanks has brought the village access to clean water. The tank is centrally placed so that residents don’t have to walk long distances. (WaterAid / Sachin Mishra)

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Pritam Sapera (32) from Gajikheda village in Ichhawar, Madhya Pradesh claims it is easier to carry water on his bicycle as he can carry four pails in one go. The water shortage is so severe that Pritam had to let go of his job as a labourer to help his wife collect enough water from the dug well. His day starts with cycling to the water point to avoid the queue. (WaterAid / Sachin Mishra) View Photos in a new improved layout
Updated on Mar 24, 2019 02:21 PM IST

Pritam Sapera (32) from Gajikheda village in Ichhawar, Madhya Pradesh claims it is easier to carry water on his bicycle as he can carry four pails in one go. The water shortage is so severe that Pritam had to let go of his job as a labourer to help his wife collect enough water from the dug well. His day starts with cycling to the water point to avoid the queue. (WaterAid / Sachin Mishra)

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Tapatjuri is a small village in Hojai district, Assam. Over the last few years nearly 120 children have contracted skeletal fluorosis, caused by contaminated drinking water. The fluoride content in the drinking water sources in this region varies from 5 to 23 mg/l, whereas the standard permissible limit is 1mg/l. The prominent symptoms caused by fluorosis are crooked teeth and bent legs. (WaterAid / Proneet De Kashyap) View Photos in a new improved layout
Updated on Mar 24, 2019 02:21 PM IST

Tapatjuri is a small village in Hojai district, Assam. Over the last few years nearly 120 children have contracted skeletal fluorosis, caused by contaminated drinking water. The fluoride content in the drinking water sources in this region varies from 5 to 23 mg/l, whereas the standard permissible limit is 1mg/l. The prominent symptoms caused by fluorosis are crooked teeth and bent legs. (WaterAid / Proneet De Kashyap)

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The National Program for Prevention and Control of Fluorosis (NPPCF) states that damage or change in skeletal system due to exposure to high levels of fluoride is irreversible. However, Rajib (13) has shown significant recovery over the years because of medication administered by a local NGO with a simple combination of calcium, vitamin D, magnesium and zinc. (WaterAid / Proneet De Kashyap) View Photos in a new improved layout
Updated on Mar 24, 2019 02:21 PM IST

The National Program for Prevention and Control of Fluorosis (NPPCF) states that damage or change in skeletal system due to exposure to high levels of fluoride is irreversible. However, Rajib (13) has shown significant recovery over the years because of medication administered by a local NGO with a simple combination of calcium, vitamin D, magnesium and zinc. (WaterAid / Proneet De Kashyap)

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