WHO Report on 'Har Ghar Jal' Program

  • 12 Jun 2023

Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report that highlights the significant impact of India's 'Har Ghar Jal' program on public health and economic savings.

Key Highlights of the Report

  • Health Impact: The report estimates that ensuring safely managed drinking water for all households in India could prevent nearly 400,000 deaths caused by diarrheal diseases and prevent approximately 14 million Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) related to these diseases. This achievement alone would result in estimated cost savings of up to $101 billion.
  • Speed and Scale: The 'Har Ghar Jal' program has been commended for its speed and scale, with a new connection being added every second. This rapid expansion is transforming public health in India.
  • Progress of the Mission: The report highlights the progress of the mission, noting that rural tap water connections increased from 16.64% in 2019 to 62.84% within a span of 41 months. On average, one tap connection has been provided every second in 2023 so far.
  • Economic Benefits: The mission's approved cost of INR 3,600 billion (US $43.62 billion) has been recovered twice over due to the 13.8 million DALYs averted, valued at US $100.8 billion. The provision of safe drinking water has a significant multiplier effect on health and brings economic benefits to individuals and society.
  • Women Empowerment: The report highlights the significant time and effort saved for women and girls through the provision of tap water. In 2018, women in India spent an average of 45.5 minutes daily collecting water to meet household needs. Universal coverage through tap water provision eliminates the need for daily water collection efforts, leading to substantial time savings.
  • Disease Burden: The analysis focuses on diarrheal diseases as they contribute significantly to the overall disease burden related to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) issues.
  • Resolving Water Supply Challenges: Prior to 2019, water supply in rural areas was challenging, with a significant percentage of the population lacking access to improved drinking-water sources on their premises. Consumption of unsafe drinking water had severe health and societal consequences.
  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): The 'Har Ghar Jal' program aligns with the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene (JMP) to monitor progress on SDG 6.1 for safely managed drinking water services.