Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability

Access to and usage of safe drinking water

India is well on track to meeting the MDG on water coverage, though quality and sustainability remain key issues. On sanitation, achieving the MDG will demand massive investments in facilities and even more in changing hygiene practices.

  • In 2004, water coverage stood at 94% of rural habitations. Despite the impressive coverage of safe drinking water facilities in the rural areas, there is a great deal of concern about water quality and sustainability. According to government data, effective coverage slipped from 95% to 85%, taking into account the impact of declining water tables and ageing hand pumps. The situation calls for an urgent transformation in managing fresh water resources. Conservation and cooperation among water users through wise water management is a concept being strongly advocated by UNICEF.
  • Sanitation coverage stands at 35% among the rural population, which means this level needs to rise to 53% by 2015 to meet the MDG target, a huge challenge in terms of investment, creation of facilities and related hygiene practices. GOI has launched major reforms in the water and sanitation sector in rural areas through national water supply programmes (Swajaldhara) and the Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC), which are demand-driven and community-managed.
  • Household access to toilets, as low as 5% in 1990, is accelerating, particularly during the last two years. According to government data, the percentage of households with some form of toilet is now about 36%.

Water and sanitation facilities in schools

School Sanitation and Hygiene Education

  • National planning calls for water and sanitation facilities in all of the country’s elementary   schools and anganwadi centres before 2006. This is an unrealistic target, and systematic planning, implementation and monitoring is required to scale up with quality.
  • The greatest challenge in school sanitation is the use of water and sanitation facilities and the adoption of hygiene practices.



For every child
Health, Education, Equality, Protection