India, along with the rest of the world, is facing challenges in providing safe drinking water to all citizens, especially those living in rural areas. On the one hand, there is severe scarcity of drinking water, deteriorating water quality, and depleting groundwater resources, and on the other there are floods and surface water logging, aggravating the crisis further.
Tata Water Mission (TWM) is a programme initiated by Tata Trusts to tackle the water crisis with a multi-pronged approach. The three core areas supported by the programme are:
TWM targets to give better access of pure water to 6 million people in 7,000 villages across 12 states, within the next 3 years. Tata Trusts are not only using the traditional strengths of community mobilisation and capacity building, but the power of innovative approaches and technological solutions to deliver on a scale never attempted before.
One of the key focus areas of TWM is to find alternate, affordable, low-maintenance technologies to tackle heavy metal contamination in water, in order to provide potable drinking water to the community. Tata Trusts are planning community-based interventions to treat arsenic-contaminated ground water in Assam and West Bengal, and fluoride-laced water in Karnataka, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Further, Tata Trusts are planning to provide Point of Use (PoU) purification systems to address microbial contamination in drinking water.
Current situation: 3,000+ villages have been covered under the mission, which is active in Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Nagaland, Maharashtra and Assam.
Tata Water Mission also plays a very pivotal role in the sanitation space. In 2016, the Trusts took on the role of development support partner to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), which has the target to develop sanitation facilities for over 500 million Indians, who do not have access to toilets, and continue to defecate in the open. Tata Trusts stepped in to make the SBM more effective and sustainable, by looking at all aspects of sanitation and toilets — supply chain, finance, behavior change, toilet design and usage.