Water and Sanitation
One of the most important determinants of community health and well being is the status of safe drinking water and sanitation. These facilities are critical component of what we call it as “Health Infrastructure”. It has been reflected in various researches that the safe drinking water and improved sanitation can lead to substantial reduction of instances of diseases in the country which are preventive in nature.
The status of Odisha State in India in terms of coverage under safe drinking water was higher than national average in terms of coverage of rural and urban habitations with safe source of drinking water supply, tube wells and shallow wells. However, there are several areas of concern. Water quality in many pockets of Odisha is a serious issue. In some areas such as Daspalla, the content of fluoride in the ground water is much more than the mandated levels. Frequent breakdown in tube wells and rural piped water supply units is another problem area. The rural people in many parts are still not tuned to appreciate the value of safe drinking water.
The sanitation habits of people in rural area are still poor. Odisha lags far behind in terms of access to toilet facilities. Between 2001 and 2010 sanitation overall coverage in Odisha increased from 8% to 42% but sustained toilet usage, sustainability of NGPs and adoption of best hygiene practices remain key challenges. At the current rate, Odisha is expected to achieve MDG 7 by 2013 and have open defecation free status by 2022. The Total Sanitation Campaign Program is implemented in all the 30 districts. Besides creating awareness among people to demand sanitation, the campaign offers a mix of incentives and investment. This program has been able to cover only 37 percent of rural households with cost effective usable toilets.
While coverage of drinking water is high, the equitable access to drinking water and water safety remains a major concern. Major reason for perpetuation of diseases like diarrhea, gastroenteritis, anemia and jaundice can be attributed to the non-availability of safe drinking water with poor sanitation facilities and practices. Availability of drinking water facilities remains very poor in Odisha. Only 25.6% of households are covered by piped water supply or by hand pumps in the State as against 88.5% households covered at the national level. Though over 80% of schools have drinking water, there is still a long way to go to ensure all schools are covered with sanitation facilities.
OSVSWA has been working on the issue of water i.e. water for irrigation and water for drinking and sanitation since past more than 18 years. The activities includes provision of safe drinking water to the local community through solar and motor powered water supply and construction of community governed sanitary toilets in the rural and urban sectors of Odisha. OSVSWA is also engaged in various studies and research related to water and sanitation in urban and rural Odisha.