“Jal Hi Jeevan hai” says Sita Devi as she emphasises on the importance of clean drinking water and how there is no life without it. However, the quality of water available to Sita Devi is not very good. Sixty-year-old Sita Devi has been a resident of Tilakpur, Bihar for about 48 years now and currently lives with her two sons. Her son works as a farm labor and she is a housewife who does the household work with her daughters-in-law and also takes care of a small grocery store inside her house. She also takes care of her grandchild and does her best to support her sons financially as well.
Currently, she has a tap in her house which she installed after her hand pump stopped working. Sita explains how they are able to use the tap water for general purposes and daily household work but they can’t use this water for drinking and cooking food as this water is not clean. She also complains about the foul taste and the smell of water. Due to these reasons, she has to get drinking water from her neighbor’s hand pump, “I feel lucky that my neighbors are very helpful and never say no to using their hand pump,” she says.
Sita Devi expresses her distress regarding the water situation in the village as the water they get from the tap makes them sick and turns the utensils yellow. The inaccess to clean water has made her son sick as well and makes her worry about other complicated health issues. “Before this, stomach issues were very common among the family but we never thought that it was because of bad quality of water as these things are widespread in almost all the houses and people face these issues commonly,” she says. She has to then travel to a nearby hand pump which is at the distance of 60-70 yards to get water.
Sita explains how the water changes colour when left undisturbed and starts to give a foul smell. She talks about how more than Covid, it's the water situation which has a larger effect on their health.
“Bringing clean water will make a lot of difference in my life as well as the lives of other villagers who don’t have access to water,” she says as she hopes for better times. The thought of buying water is unthinkable for Sita Devi, and she hopes for help from authorities.
Sita Devi knows that this problem is not going to stop and it will only increase from here so she hopes to tackle this as soon as possible. She hopes to see a future where her grandchildren do not face water related issues. She wishes for a water connection in the village soon. She also hopes to have water tanks in which they can store water every year during the time of floods as water becomes a very scarce resource. There is no proper drainage system in the village as well and floodwater takes months to seep down into the earth as there is no other way. She hopes for help from the government to resolve these issues.
Sita Devi looks forward to a time when a plant is set up in or near their village to supply clean water in every house of their village.