QUEEN’S ROAD: Arghyam, a grant making foundation working in water and sanitation, hosted a workshop at the Indian Institute of Human Settlements (IIHS) recently to understand the interface between groundwater and sanitation in India.
After a decade of work across the country, Arghyam has become increasingly aware that its vision of safe, sustainable water for all cannot be achieved in isolation.
It has found that in certain hydrogeological conditions, sanitation provisions may conflict with water supply. In typical rural toilets, the wastewater goes into an adjoining pit and wastewater leaching out of the pit can percolate into the groundwater supply. An integrated approach is required to avoid new pollution hazards, especially when 85 per cent of drinking water supplies in the country rely upon groundwater (Census 2011).
As the Swachh Bharat Mission aims to construct approximately 125 million toilets across rural and urban India over the next five years, Arghyam feels that at this stage, it is very critical to get the design of toilets and wastewater systems right.
“If sanitation planning is done in isolation without considerations of groundwater resources, we may irreversibly damage the quality of groundwater. It is very important to understand the groundwater sanitation nexus, particularly in the context of denser living spaces due to rapid urbanisation,” said Rohini Nilekani, Chairperson, Arghyam.
Arghyam has now embarked on a research programme to understand the nexus between groundwater and sanitation in the country. The research programme aims to produce solutions that can influence policy and practice.
For more details contact, Neelima Thota, Director, Urban Programme, Arghyam. Call 080 41698941 extension 32 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org