Water Day amidst COVID crisis

Poonam Sewak, Vice President - Safe Water Network India

The world has come to standstill in the wake of the global pandemic COVID 19 and India is no exception. On March 22nd, 2020 which was also World Water Day, a voluntary public curfew which restricted all movement unless absolutely essential. The public curfew was followed by a countrywide lockdown wherein almost all but the essential services were suspended and people were requested to stay indoors and come out only under critical circumstances.

The lockdown was implemented with an aim to flatten the Coronavirus curve and prevent the disease from being spread at the community level. Because of the limited movement, access to supplies including that of drinking water has become difficult. However, the central and state governments have made sure that piped water supply to residential homes continues without it being impacted. But what about the homes are beyond the pipe connection?

In these testing times, Small Water Enterprises have become a blessing for the impoverished population deprived of clean drinking water supply in their homes. The small water enterprises such as the Water Purification Stations, Water ATMs, and Water Kiosks are ensuring a 24×7 supply of safe and affordable drinking water in places where piped water access or the quality is poor.

Small Water Enterprises (SWE) are decentralized water solutions that source water from ground or surface water sources. The raw water is purified through a meticulous water purification process and is made available to purchase through coins or RFID cards from an automated water dispensing machine. The SWE Alliance Partners have implemented these SWEs in places where they are needed the most such as urban poor agglomerations, water-stressed or quality-affected habitations, and remote villages. The automated water dispensing technology, 24×7 safe water availability within the community ensure that crowds do not assemble at a specific time and all the norms pertaining to social distancing are adhered to.

We are in the midst of a global crisis. The key to overcoming this predicament is restraint, patience, and self-discipline. The SWE Alliance is committed to helping people by providing a continuous supply of safe and affordable drinking water. Please keep safe and remain indoors during the period of the lockdown. We all stand united in this fight against the Corona Pandemic.