Water is a precious resource and is increasingly getting scarce. Despite that, water is taken for granted, because it is made easily available – in some urban areas, water is in abundance. It is a known fact that urban households consume close to 400 liters of water, every day. And it is used for multiple purposes like flush tanks, bathing, cleaning utensils, washing clothes, mopping the house, washing cars and cooking. However, as we move from urban cities to semi-urban or rural areas, the usage drops to 100-150 liters per household. This is a significant drop; and I assume it’s mainly because they have limited their aspirations and requirements of water in relation to available supply. If we go further into villages, this usage will drop further. Perhaps, it is as little as 40-50 liters per household.
This summer, I went riding to some of the villages that are around 100 kms from Mumbai. One such village is called Aghai, which is in close proximity to Tansa Lake. Tansa is one of the primary sources of water supply for Mumbai. The village is so close to a large lake, yet the entire village depends on a single tap located at the mouth of the village. The supply of water during summer was rationed to just about 90 minutes and everybody in the village had to walk up to that single source to fetch their share of water for the day.
Women of Aghai – The delicate art of carrying water without spilling over.
The responsibility of fetching water is assigned to the women folk of the house. They walk distances ranging from 20 meters to one kilometer, depending on how close or far their house is to the tap. These women have, over time, mastered the art of carrying water and in a manner that’s very artistic. The images posted here are some glimpses of these women carrying empty vessels and some filled ones. However, it’s difficult to spot the difference. The beauty of these women was they were all smiles despite the hardship. They have, for sure, inculcated the value of responsible usage of water. It’s time we did that too.