PREVIOUS STORIES, 1 February 2016

Water Portraits

Nandita Singh and Om Prakash Singh

 

 

 

Water is everybody’s business because it is needed for basic survival on a day-to-day basis. However, every household in India does not enjoy the luxury of a drinking water source within the domestic premises. For a vast majority – rural or urban –drinking water needs to be procured from outside home. The distance, of course, may vary from the nearby community handpump, well or tapstand to water sources located further away. But who are the ones to shoulder the responsibility of drinking water procurement at the household level? Is it only women or also men? Is it only the young and strong adults or also the elderly? Are children also involved? If yes, from what age, how much water do they generally carry? Is it only girls or also boys?

In India, drinking water management is essentially a gendered task where the roles vary not only by gender per se of the person but also by age and social status. Thus, while a daughter may fetch water from a public point, it may be inappropriate for a newly-wed daughter-in-law. On the whole, different arrangements may exist in different areas, communities and households, depending upon the available manpower, needs and prevailing socio-cultural norms. This water story presents glimpses of the common faces of the young and old, women and men, and girls and boys from across different states of India who are engaged in drinking water management in various rural and urban settings. The title photograph is from Kutch district, Gujarat.

 

 

A village girl carrying water from a distant roadside handpump – near Tehri, Uttarakhand

 

 

This young boy shoulders the responsibility of fetching water every morning for his family from the community borewell – Bangalore city, Karnataka

 

 

Waiting for water at the borewell in the evening – Anantapur town, Andhra Pradesh

 

 

Transporting load of water procured from a tanker – South-East district, National Capital Territory of Delhi

 

 

 

Procuring water from a pond located on village outskirts - Bhavnagar district, Gujarat

 

 

A moment of joy getting water from a public standpoint where the number of standpoints is few against hundreds and thousands of population and water supply is irregular - Mumbai city, Maharashtra

 

 

Returning to village with water from ‘beri’ (small shallow drinking water well) in the Thar Desert – Jaisalmer district, Rajasthan

 

 

A middle-aged rural lady making several trips everyday for procuring water in the absence of a water source at home – Ahmednagar district, Maharashtra

 

 

An old Naga woman bringing water from a spring located down the hill, since Naga villages are always located on the hilltop – Mon district, Nagaland

 

 

An elderly woman bringing drinking water from a pond located outside the village - Kutch district, Gujarat

 

 

A eunuch taking water for herself and her associates from a public standpoint away from her home – Mumbai city, Maharashtra

 

Queuing up for water at the community borewell – Bengaluru city, Karnataka

 

 

Even an employee of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which is responsible for water supply in the city, needs to carry water cans for himself and his family on a regular basis – Mumbai city, Maharashtra

 

 

An old villager who supports his family in water procurement as a routine by filling cans from a distant pond, transporting these home on his bicycle – Bhavnagar district, Gujarat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Photo by: Om Prakash Singh
Photo by: Om Prakash Singh
Photo by: Om Prakash Singh
Photo by: Om Prakash Singh
Photo by: Om Prakash Singh
Photo by: Om Prakash Singh
Photo by: Om Prakash Singh
Photo by: Om Prakash Singh
Photo by: Om Prakash Singh
Photo by: Om Prakash Singh
Photo by: Om Prakash Singh
Photo by: Om Prakash Singh
Photo by: Om Prakash Singh
Photo by: Om Prakash Singh
Photo by: Om Prakash Singh
Photo by: Om Prakash Singh