Nearly a billion of the world’s inhabitants still lack access to drinking water. And more than three billion people have no permanent access to water, or must rely on water of questionable quality.
In Nagpur, for example, about 36% of residents live in slums. Most live below India’s poverty line (less than 33.3 rupees a day per person in urban areas, according to the Suresh Tendulkar Committee), have very low literacy skills and have only limited access to drinking water. In Nagpur and several other cities in the state of Karnataka, we designed a drinking water distribution service that’s intended for every type of customer and serves the city’s slums as well as its other neighborhoods.
Veolia created a special customer support team to assist consumers in disadvantaged areas as effectively as possible. This “social welfare team” focuses exclusively on relations with slum residents, and provides support during each major phase of construction work to lay drinking water supply pipelines. The community support staff includes social workers who serve as a link between the provider and local residents, providing regular updates to the slum’s inhabitants and playing an active role in every stage of the project. The team’s members communicate with local administrators and neighborhood leaders and organize meetings on topics such as consumption-based invoicing and health and hygiene issues.
India’s rapid urbanization is constantly putting increased pressure on the country. The urban population has grown by 31.8% in the past decade. (Source: Veolia Water India)