Innovative Practices: Engaging women groups in household water audit

Saurabh Pandey

Saurabh Pandey

In this participatory community mobilization activity, women from poor pockets are involved to understand water consumption and water conservation situation in households. This activity aims to scientifically audit the household water consumption habits and provide a snapshot of the situation along with the possible interventions to conserve water.

Understanding consumption patterns in towns is a crucial part of understanding drinking water access in poorer areas. Knowing local consumption levels will help understand the whole picture, which will aid in finding solutions to the water crisis.

‘Water Audit with Women in Households’ activity requires the identification of poverty pockets in priority areas of execution, involving women’s groups like SHGs, Mahila mandals, Bhajan Mandali etc. It also aims to share the objectives of the water audit. To complete a water audit, you must first distribute an activity sheet and provide them with a pen to fill it out; this will include the number of leaking taps they see as well as their daily water consumption.

The water audit was initially field tested in Kuchaman City, later it got implemented in 5 towns i.e., Sirohi, Abu-Road, Mandawa, Khetri and Kuchaman City. About 50 women were involved as on date. The same shall be replicated in other towns with water supply schemes. The findings from 5 water audits suggests in some places that residents travel 20 minutes daily to fetch water from public distribution tap, few patches in town are not covered with piped water supply, the daily consumption of water per person is very poor due to non-availability and this can have implications on health of women, children, adolescent girls and elderly people. Hygiene practices in this location are very poor.

By involving format and informal women’s group in areas of poverty, the CAPP adopted an innovative strategy in only Phase IV called the water audit with women in households. We created an entirely visual activity sheet with very little written text so that even women with limited or no literacy could complete it. The activity sheet is designed to be competed by each woman independently, with no assistance from anyone. Following field testing, some changes were made to the activity sheet to make it more appropriate for use on the ground. As a result, this activity becomes enjoyable with the participation of every woman participant while still providing the desired information.  

As implemented in tranche-I towns under phase-IV, the same shall be replicated in tranche-II towns. For this, all town level experts have received training to implement water audits in their respective towns. In addition, CAPP is targeting 500 women in the current tranche for water audits.


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