Women represent 37% of the rural workforce in India. According to the Census of India, about 100 million women work within the agricultural sector out of the total workforce of 263 million cultivators and agricultural workers. We are experiencing water crisis across cities and villages in India. Reports say that India will face a water shortfall of almost 50% by 2030 if the use continues in the same pattern. Last year, Chennai and Bangalore have shown water scarcity insights are not just fair numbers on papers; they have ended up as a reality.

Agriculture accounts for over 80% of India’s freshwater utilize and more than half of India’s rural populace depends on cultivating as a livelihood. 60% of India’s locale faces an issue of either over-exploited groundwater or destitute water quality. This is often since 63% of water for irrigation system depends on groundwater.

As Hindustan Unilever Foundation started work to promote water security and prosperity for provincial communities over the nation – it became apparent quickly that women bear the brunt of this heightening emergency. Women in villages can end up investing up to four hours a day bringing water for their drinking needs. These are hours that may well be spent through attending to school or at work. This opportunity prevents them from grasping openings that seem to lead to their socio-economic progress.

As per Oxfam study, women log 3,300 hours of work on cultivating work during the cropping season, compared to the 1,860 hours logged by men. A growing water crisis will affect their capacity to flood their areas or discover work on areas that require irrigation. This could have far-reaching results on stressed provincial agrarian economy.

Women produce 60-80% of food and 90% of the dairy items in our nation. They have a high stake in understanding the water crisis and they’ve demonstrated to be the compelling champions of solutions for their families and communities. Results of improvement programs in West Bengal show that women can usefully impact open authorities to supply government stores for business. They have utilized this cash to construct water supply structures such as lakes and supplies that give the required water to the communities. Women produce 47% of MGNREGA and have assembled over Rs 53,000 crore from 2006 to 2012 to construct structures that address their community’s water needs.

UNICEF’s work with neighbourhood government institutions run by women illustrated their viability as mechanics. Pump repair and maintenance that prior took over a month to settle was done by women mechanics under 24 hours. In Jharkhand’s Magma panchayat, the nonappearance of operable hand pumps made village people resort to drinking water from unhygienic sources. The women formed a group with representation from each panchayat to preserve 450 pumps. They ran their villages, save stores and met the water needs of 130 villages.

Concluding, it can be said that women are required to lead people’s development on water, not because they are women but since they can lead our generation’s development for a more secure and water conflict-free society.

Credit: The Quint