When I visited Ranchi in 2016, little did I know she was in the midst of an affair with water scarcity that would linger for years. The relationship is ongoing as of early 2020, and trust me, it is complicated.
But for this sodden piece, let us look beyond urban Ranchi, to rural Jharkhand.
Writing in the Hindu BusinessLine last year (November 2019), Tina Edwin reported: In rural Jharkhand, 1.7% of households have access to piped drinking water.
In other words, 98.3% of Jharkhand’s rural residents (20+ million people, half the population of Spain) DIY (Do-It-Yourself) with regards to water. And this is important because:
“The fact is, clean water remains the most important preventive health measure in the world…The pandemic teaches us that we are as weak as the weakest link in the chain — the contagion needs us to ensure that everybody has access to public health so that nobody is left out and nobody can be the carrier of the virus.
It is the same with water. If people do not have access to clean water, they will not be able to prevent the spread of the disease.”
Sunita Narain in her recent article “Water in the age of Coronavirus.”