Drinking Water Security in Peri Urban India: A Case Study in Hyderabad
Sustainable Development Goals: 6
- SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
The thesis presents a study on the inequalities in drinking water access and its consequent impact on drinking water security in three peri-urban villages around the city of Hyderabad in India namely, Gagillapur, Chintalcheru and Erdhanoor. It explains the existing drinking water situation and the reason behind existence of inequities in accessing drinking water in the three study areas. Field research was conducted in the three villages in which mainly qualitative data was collected through semi-structured interviews and participatory observations. The social and economic setting of the villages and the impact of urbanization on the access to drinking water was studied.
The study showed that even though all three villages have similar peri-urban characteristics, the scale of drinking water security differed by a vast magnitude. The main factors that affect drinking water security have been identified as the caste and ethnicity, process of urbanization and the existing institutions. Erdhanoor displyed a highly fragmented society where a person's caste determined his access to drinking water resources whereas Gagillapur and Chintalcheru did not have any visible discrimination in water access due to caste. The on-going urbanization process has led to depleting ground water levels, increasing population density, pollution of surface and ground water and changing social and economic scenario of the peri-urban areas. With respect to institutions, I found that the Panchayat is responsible for deciding the supply and distribution of drinking water in all three villages. In Gagillapur, the main drinking water source is through vendors who sell water in 20 litre cans. In Chintalcheru, drinking water is supplied via a piped distribution system after treating the ground water with chlorine. Erdhanoor village is supplied with two sources of drinking water – ground water and water from the minicipality in Hyderabad as the village is classified as a highly polluted zone.
From this research it is seen that water access is deeply rooted in the existing institutions, relevant communities, the social, economic and geographical setting of the area. The peri-urban context of the study throws light on the changing environment, social structures, institutions and beliefs and their consequent effect on access to drinking water. This research also throws light on the fact that access to drinking water in these villages is largely determined by the complex web of power, politics and money an dhow institutions tend to tilt in favour of the rich and the powerful.