Mapping the Shift in Access to Drinking Water – II

Last week I mapped the proportion of households who had to travel more than half a km in rural areas (or 100m in urban areas) to find drinking water. The share of such households in the overall population had actually increased between 2001 and 2011.

The map below shows the other part of the story. It maps the proportion of households who had access to drinking water at home, both in rural and urban areas. Interestingly, the proportion of such households too, actually increased between 2001 and 2011 – by about 7.6 percentage points.

But it’s the regional differences which are interesting…compare the map below with the previous one to see what I mean.

(This post may take a while to load on a slow connection, and/or if you are using a tablet or phone. Click or tap on the map to switch between 2001 and 2011. Hover your mouse over a tehsil/subdistrict to see its details. The greyed-out regions are those for whom data couldn’t be compiled, or those which are not relevant e.g. PoK)

In a swathe of central and eastern India in the previous map, access had actually worsened – more households were having to travel a greater distance to find drinking water. In the map above we see that in Northern, Western, North-Eastern and Southern India, and parts of UP and Bihar, access seems to have actually improved – more households have access to drinking water at home in 2011 than a decade earlier.

But we have to be careful in interpreting what ‘improved’ access actually means here – other studies and data show drops in the water table in many of the areas where the census data shows better access. As more households use tubewells / borewells at home, there’s greater pressure on ground water resources.

So on closer examination, even the good news may not be that great…

Notes : 

Please see the previous post.

January 13, 2014

2 responses to Mapping the Shift in Access to Drinking Water – II

  1. Prashant said:

    Beautiful blogposts and visualizations. Enjoyed viewing your maps of India and dissection of various issues.
    I’ve done some work as well, in the educational data space but nowhere close to yours. Here are a few of them.

    • Administrator said:

      Thanks. Really great charts on test scores, by the way!