From the desk of Editor-in-Chief

Importance of clean and safe water for sustaining our lives

With summers upon us, a glass of cool water feels so good, every time. And yet there is a substantial population that doesn’t have access to safe drinking water.

What do we mean when we use the term “clean water”? In the context of the global goals, we are referring to water that is safe for human consumption. “Safe” water is also a good definition. Safe water must be free from disease-causing pathogens. But water that is free of pathogens may still be clouded by sediment.

Safe water is not necessarily pure, it has some impurities in it. It contains some traces of salts such as magnesium, calcium, carbonates, bicarbonates and others. The degree of purity and safety is a relative term and debatable. Clean/pure water has no minerals and it only contains H and O. However, other elements such as minerals are required because they contribute to strong teeth, bones, healthy skin and hair. They are also very important for the growth and development of the body.

According to the WHO, an estimated 1.1 billion people in the world drink unsafe water. Research has shown that the majority of people without access to safe water are from developing nations including India. In many parts of the world, especially developing countries, water-borne diseases are the leading cause of death.

Access to safe water therefore not just means a reduction of water-related diseases but also a healthier life ahead.

So safe drinking water is not an issue that can ever be overemphasised. Why even United Nations understands the value of clean water. Out of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations which every nation has agreed to achieve by 2030, goal number six pertains to “clean water and sanitation”. Which is why we decided to dedicate our issue to water.

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While our NGO story looks at some NGOs doing some brave work in the area of water conservation and restoration, our corporate story looks at some innovative strategies from some leading corporate for water conservation and provision. We have also covered the latest development in the social sector and also apprised our readers about people moving from one organisation to another in the section, social sector movements.

Since we believe in walking the talk, we partnered with WaterAid India to become their magazine and outreach partner for, Blue Mile 3.0 ‘Run, walk or cycle’ for water, a first-of-its-kind virtual event organised aimed at sensitising people about the struggles of millions of Indians who do not have access to clean water.

The response to the event was heart warming, to say the least.

Given the challenges of global warming and depleting water resources, an informed discussion that leads to awareness generation regarding all aspects of safe and clean drinking water would be helpful in better implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) of Government of India. This will also help in better acceptance of prescribed methods of water supply that includes source sustainability, operations and maintenance, ownership and contribution by beneficiaries, etc among stakeholders. Understanding water and the challenges associated with it, thereby would lead to sustainable solutions and making life better for people of our country.

Water is an issue that needs attention and needs it now!

Happy Reading!

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Blue Mile 3.0 : Making every drop count, every step matter

By The Bridge India Correspondent

Changing narratives is not easy, not when there are big challenges facing one. But Blue Mile tries to do exactly that.

A first-of-its-kind virtual event, Blue Mile 3.0 ‘Run, walk or cycle’ for water, organised by WaterAid India  aimed at sensitising people about the struggles of millions of Indians who do not have access to clean water.

Held between 11th – 20th March, the event being virtual, helped people from all over the world to be a part of the cause. WaterAid India is a part of the global WaterAid network that seeks to improve and change lives for good.

Considering how huge the problem of water is in India, events like these definitely help in creating awareness. According to estimates; 163m Indians still don’t have access to clean running water. This means water needs to be fetched walking long distances, despite harsh weather conditions.

According to a report by the National Commission for Women, a rural woman in Rajasthan walks over 2.5 kilometers to reach a water source.

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Sadly the story is not too different in several places.

The silver lining in this dark cloud is that efforts are being made by the government (Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) being a case in point) as well as organisations like WaterAid to improve access to water. In fact the active participation of individuals for the third edition of Blue Mile showed how everyone looks at access to clean water as a very important basic right.

Apart from active participation where individuals did their bit by walking and cycling, there were several others who engaged on their social media handles as well. More than 400,000 individuals engaged on social media via their outreach efforts and Blue Mile 3.0 event video alone received 77K + views.

This year’s event was distinct in many ways. For example, two new activities i.e. walk & cycle were introduced. Also there were independent participant login accounts with DIY facilities to update activity data, download participation certificate and E-medals and a dedicated leadership board for each activity. There was also an opportunity to interact with event winners and partners.

Like the previous two editions, the 3rd edition of Blue Mile received overwhelming response from individuals, corporates, schools as well as running and cycling clubs.

What is more, there were a host of collaborations.  Corporate philanthropy partner being Techwave, School Philanthropy Partner: Scindia Kanya Vidyalaya, e-Magazine and Outreach Partner: The Bridge India, Activity partners being, The Bike Shop, Delhi Cyclists and Faridabad Triathlon Club.

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Winners of Blue Mile 3.0 – Scindia Kanya Vidyalaya, Gwalior

Category : Run

Anushka Singh – 1st 

Avni Shah – 2nd 

Isha Khan – 3rd 

Category : Walk

Aanvi Dhoreliya – 1st 

Dheetya Rungta – 2nd 

Prachi Agarwal – 3rd 

Scindia  Kanya Vidyalaya aims to create Water Ambassadors. The Bridge India e-Magazine brings exclusive interviews with the Winners of Blue Mile organised by WaterAid India

By Amitabh Srivastava

TBI : What inspired you to participate in blue Mile?

Isha khan – My passion for running and to contribute towards such a critical social issue pushed me to participate in the competition. I like to be a part of events and campaigns which help the society and work towards the betterment of the community. The Blue Mile gave me the chance to tick all these boxes so I was more than happy to be a part of it.

TBI : Could you please share what inspired you to participate in Blue Mile Run?

Aanvi Dhoreliya – As a child I have been lazy to either get up or go out. In the two years of lockdown even if one wanted to go out, one could not. I saw a brilliant opportunity in Blue Mile. Not only did it give me a chance to get out of my comfort zone but also be a part of an important cause. My passion for athletics will now only keep growing.

TBI : Please share your experience of Blue MileMarathon.

Avni  Shah – What I gained from this marathon is actually difficult to put in words. To begin with, it was the cause that inspired me. The idea that my running could help contribute towards such an important social issue is what kept me pushing myself to run and practice for the marathon every day. It took a lot of determination, focus and overall willpower and strength to complete the marathon and reach my daily goals. It also taught me a sense of goal-setting and showed the fruitful result of hard work. I am thrilled.

TBI : How do you think events like Blue Mile marathon  can make a difference?

Deetya Rungta – I think events like Blue Mile Marathon make a lot of difference because they help to create awareness about highly critical issues of the society which sometimes go unnoticed by many. Besides this, events like this also give social enthusiasts a chance to contribute towards the betterment of their community by being a part of them.

TBI : What message you would like to give to children of other schools.

Anushka Singh – My message to children of other schools is that one should never miss any opportunity which helps fulfill your passion towards a cause. Also events like these should not be missed because they help you thrive, mentally, socially and physically. Also participation matters more than victory. Always believe in yourself and let your failure be the motivation for better performance the next time.

TBI : Can you share your experience regarding Blue Mile with The Bridge India?

Prachi  Agarwal –I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the Blue Mile organisers for providing me this amazing opportunity which gave me a chance to not only prove myself but also be a part of a cause which tackles such an essential issue in the society. Opportunities like this don’t come by very often. And that is exactly why I am very grateful to have got a chance to contribute to a crucial cause like water safety.

Winners of Blue Mile 3.0

Name Category Position
Pooja Harish Shah Cycle 1st
Nishay Cycle 2nd
Subhajit Chowdhury Cycle 3rd
Vikas Bandaru Run 1st
Shreya Bijur Walk 1st
Janu Jnaneswari Keerthi Walk 2nd
Anil Kumar Sunke Walk 3rd

Watering the way to a secure future for the vulnerable & underprivileged

By Dr. Manoj Dash

India is home to 16% of the world’s population. And yet it has only four of the world’s fresh water resources. With the weather patterns becoming erratic, more and more parts of India are reported as water stressed.

As many as 256 of 700 districts have reported ‘critical’ or ‘over-exploited’ groundwater levels, according to a 2017 report of the Central Ground Water Board. This means that availing water for household consumption in such districts has become harder as the water table has fallen alarmingly.

Successive governments in India have been working consistently towards increasing access to water. The Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) launched in 2019 targets provision of one functional household tap water connection in each household, which holds promise for the women and girls in the country, who have been traditionally fetching water by sacrificing their comfort and taking many risks.

The Centre and the States are now working hand-in-hand towards making each rural household in the country connected with piped water and many other agencies including NGOs have become a part of this momentous journey. It is needless to say that many NGOs – big and small – have been working on providing water solutions to people.

In this edition, The Bridge India  E-Magazine is happy to capture the work of four NGOs – each working in their right and making remarkable contribution towards achieving the nation’s goal.

WaterAid Indiais a not-for-profit organisation, determined to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere. In India, the organisation works across 12 States, 69 Districts, and 7 cities.  With its work being focused on the most vulnerable and the most marginalised communities, it attempts to ensure economically and socially that no one is left behind


WaterAid India looks at water-related interventions in an integrated framework of ensuring access to facilities, adequate water recharge measures such as rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge, towards achieving sustainability in the target communities. Bringing about improved health and well-being conditions in people is another change that it constantly seeks.

In terms of specific interventions, access to clean and safe drinking water supply within a household’s premises, across rural areas and Gram Panchayats, is an important area of intervention for WaterAid India. Community participation is a core area of making this intervention a success. This is achieved through development of Village Level Action Plans (VAPs) and putting in place Village Water Sanitation Committees (VWSCs) to help planning, Operation and Maintenance; better storage and distribution of Piped Water Supply Systems (PWSS).

Another critical aspect it works on is empowering women and adolescent girls from the community to take up water quality testing of affected sources of water. Women are trained as plumbers or “water mechanics” to manage access to piped water supply systems and community water pumps, and its maintenance, so they are empowered to have access and control over their own water needs.

Mr Vikas Kataria, Director, Resource Mobilisation and Communications, says that “WaterAid aims to build a strong foundation through its work of keeping people healthy and helping communities lift themselves out of extreme poverty, to build a brighter future.”

Neer Foundation has been on a remarkable journey in rejuvenating the Kali East River. This  river  that starts from Antwada village of Muzafarnagar district in Uttar Pradesh, is a tributary of Ganga and merges with it at Kannauj and flows through eight districts.

Planning for water supply through comprehensive planning is accorded high priority. For availing water regularly, source sustainability and ensuring a satisfactory sanitary condition of the source is considered very important. With this aim in view, Neer Foundation and its team lead by Raman Kant Tyagi who is known as “Son of the River” has been working relentlessly towards doing away with encroachments at the source of the river and also cleaning it throughout the run of the river. This has ensured availability of a dependable source of safe drinking water resource which has been made available in dozens of villages. The organisation is working on this river in partnership with WWF India, Government of India, local administration and the stakeholder communities.

Water For People in India focuses its efforts on building the capacity of the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) in preparing water and sanitation plans for villages. This in turn, leads to appropriate demand generation and improvement in water access in the community. It also ensures that water demand in the community is represented in the planning process at the block and district level. Water For People India (WFPI) is one of the sector partners in implementation of JJM, a flagship programme of the Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS), Government of India.

WFPI has been widely recognised for its Jalabandhus (water friends) programme in West Bengal. These  Jalabandhus  or water mechanics, support the district administration in maintaining the water structures through their timely repair and maintenance. The Jalabandhus are recognised by the district and block authorities.  So far 69 Jalabndhus have been  trained and linked to the Village Water and Sanitation Committees (VWSCs) in its intervention areas. The relevant block (a sub-district governance unit) authorities seek their services whenever there is a breakage of any water infrastructure in the community. WFPI’s Jalabandhu initiative has become recognised as a grassroots model for sustainability of the household water supply programme.

Wakeel Ahmed Siddiqui, Programme Head of WFPI says, “Water is the most important wealth therefore we emphasise in taking source sustainability measures to ensure that the water sources protected and sustained for the community to access.”

Habitat for Humanity India is a housing non-profit driven by the vision that everyone deserves a decent place to live, and the economically marginalised communities don’t face any barriers around the housing eco-system. In addition to building homes, Habitat for Humanity India also provides household and community level infrastructure and services that are required to make a home adequate.

Habitat India has developed a five-pronged approach to make this a reality: (i) Behaviour Change Communication (BCC); (ii) Individual Household Latrines (IHHL); (iii) School Sanitation and Hygiene Education (SSHE); (iv) Community Sanitation Complex; and (v) Access to Water.

Most recently, it also developed four hamlets in Vallam village comprising of Vallam, Kandigai, Vadakkal and Theresapuram in Kanchipuram district of Tamil Nadu. In these villages, 790 families from marginalised communities have been provided with new sanitation amenities and other essential facilities.

The village was holistically developed and completed in 2021 through the provision of a community sanitation unit, new and repaired individual household latrines, an RO safe drinking water facility, rooftop rainwater harvesting systems for homes, the construction of a shed and solar street lights. A sanitation unit was also built for RCM Primary School, Vallam, while the school kitchen, walkway and compound wall were renovated, with the walls also newly painted with art. The villagers and students of the school were imparted BCC training on safe sanitation and hygiene practices.

Dr.Rajan Samuel, Managing Director, Habitat for Humanity India states, “Access to water and sanitation plays a crucial role in community development. Habitat is committed to empowering marginalized people and communities in India to ensure equitable access to housing, sanitation and water.”

The fact that water is a critical resource is not just being recognised by individuals but also government and NGos . The correct steps in the right direction are definitely helping bring the necessary focus on the much needed issue. What is crucial is for the momentum to continue and grow. Let us all do our bit!


Indian Corporates :Working to wash water woes away

By Prachi Raturi Misra

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 speaks of water and sanitation for all by 2030. Given the current challenges, the order is tall. But what is encouraging is to see the work being done at various levels. Be it water conservation, preservation or replenishing. While the government, NGOs and individuals are doing their bit, the corporate world hasn’t been lagging behind by any standards.

We feature some Corporates who have been doing some brilliant work on water.

Reliance Foundation

The CSR division of Reliance Industries, Reliance Foundation has worked on several areas of water conservation under its ‘Bharat India Jodo’ flagship program. This unique initiative has worked across 12 states on a watershed approach and adopted local water conservation methods. This in turn has helped it build over 11,000 water harvesting structures in 3,900 villages across India. These structures can cumulatively hold up to 85 billion liters of rainwater and serve as a source for irrigation. The idea is to spread awareness on efficient use of water among villagers.


Not just this, the foundation also works on educating farmers on soil and moisture protection, conservation strategies, to lessen the situations of drought and water scarcity. A whooping 38,500 hectares of land, so far now has assured irrigation.

Clean Water

Clean Water working in the sector of water treatment and  water-body restoration after surveying the lake and taking water test results, realized that nutrients such as pitrogen and Phosphorous was the main problem in the lake.

Founder Priyanshu Kumuth an Almuni of IIT Mumbai along with his team decided to treat lake using floating islands, also known as floating treatment wetlands, which would be the ideal way to remove the nutrients. Floating islands uptake the nutrients and prevent the growth of algae.

Floating Islands also gives a boost towards preserving ecology around the lake, it would also reduce the evaporation along with adding beauty. One of the projects initiated for lake restoration in the most populated city in  Madhya Pradesh, Indore has become a role model.

The  Clean Water team after cleaning the streets and its garbage landfill area, has restoring its lakes and rivers for the holistic and sustain- able eco-development of the city.A Model lake restoration project has been developed in Police Training College, Mu- sakhedi to serve as an example for other lake restoration projects across the country

Hinduja Group

For Hinduja, water is one of the ‘champion causes’ across the wide array of their CSR activities. One of their progammes ‘Jal Jeevan’  has lived up to its name and is thriving in 18 states of India namely Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Haryana, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Odisha to name some. Around 629 million litres of safe drinking water has been dispensed under it. Also more than 53,000 Ha land  (think 1 lakh football fields!) has been treated and a  storage capacity of 219 million Cu. F 9now think 25,000 Olympic swimming pools) has been created.

Not just this, 2400 volunteers from all group companies of the Hinduja group, along with NGO partners have been working to restore contaminated or dried up water bodies. Besides this, the group also works in rejuvenating lakes, ponds, tanks, drains, rivers as well as step wells. Dispensing safe drinking water, rooftop harvesting, restoration of wetlands and Himalayan springs and watershed development are some of t ether areas they work in.


Development Happenings

By The Bridge India Correspondent

Residential Capacity Building Training organised by Spectra for reparation of Integrated Water Resource Management.

Spectra conducted four days residential training for PRI and Village Water and Sanitation Committee  members in Alwar and Dholpur districts of Rajasthan. The agenda for the training was designed in a way to provide an understanding of the process of planning for the water security of a village. This included creating awareness about the finite nature of village water resources. The need to identify critical water issues in a village, and how these problems can be addressed through a collective planning process in order to gain the sessions revolved around critical aspects of water such as scarcity, quality, catchment area recharge, maintenance, funding and technical support. Modules also consisted of water conservation technologies both traditional and modern prevalent in different geological and topographical areas of Rajasthan.


The training was  held in four parts. The first part consisted of overall orientation to the NJJM framework, rules, criteria and operational guidelines. Participants also engaged in group work to develop their own action plans which integrated all they had learned and which were adequate to fulfil their roles for the Planning and Implementation phase. The second part was  to build fundamental skills in participatory approaches, a combination of sensitization exercises, orientation to human development concepts and methods. The third part consisted of Village Water and Sanitation Committee formation and formal training to be held and to strengthen VWSCs. The fourth part of the training focuses more on community level M&E and O&M tools and techniques needed.


Samarthanam brings in tech transformation through Digitization in Education

Samarthanam’s Smart Class room brings  Digital literacy in Government School with the support from DXC Technology under their CSR initiative . The inauguration  was done on March 11 at Govt. Girls. Sr. Sec. School, New Kondli, East Delhi in the presence of Dr. Rajanish Singh, Director S.C.E.R.T , Govt. Of NCT of Delhi, Dr. Ajay Kumar(OSD Integrated Education Branch) Govt. Of NCT of Delhi, Dr. Javed Qamar,  Deputy Director Education, East Dist Zone, Dr. S. K. Sharma, Deputy Director Education East Dist. Zone II , Ms. Anita Singh (Head of School G.S.S.S. Kondli), Ms, Amudha Michael ( DXC Programe Manager ), Mr. Peethambaram Ji,  Mr, Yogesh Dedha,representative MLA Mr Kuldeep Kumar, Kondli Vidhansabha.


The Project aims to disseminate knowledge in general academics and computers by giving access to digital equipment for learning, by training Teachers in capacity building, collecting and storing of digital academic books for reference and bring an overall change in Social, intellectual and voluntary activities as per NEP 2020

This broad based initiative provides early exposure and access to technology to facilitate advanced education to Students in Schools. The main aim of the project supported by DXC Technology is to promote quality education among marginalized rural and migrant urban children through digital literacy, by reducing the dropout rate and reskilling the Govt. School teachers through appropriate guidance and support.


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