Madhya Pradesh’s Bundelkhand region has been devastated by low rainfall and a heavy drought since 2007. This has caused an acute scarcity of water in most villages, as taps and wells run dry.

In one particular village in the region, villagers have to fetch their water from the river in order to survive. And this has been going on for the past six years.

For there is no source of potable or clean drinking water in Lehdara village in the Chhatarpur district. So, villagers have been replying on the Dhasan river for at least six years now. The water they drink is also the water they use for bathing and washing their clothes and utensils. Many children, in fact, have had to drop out of school or skip classes simply to fetch water.

Since the water on the banks is dirty, the villagers have to venture deep into the river to get clean water. This is a dangerous ordeal, and children have nearly drowned in the process. Not only is this process perilous, but the river is also home to threatening reptiles like crocodiles and snakes. And there is still no guarantee that the water is not contaminated.

Lehdara is not the only village plagued by this situation. The public health engineering department (PHE) records show that there is a lack of potable drinking water in 2051 villages in Madhya Pradesh. The only choice the people have in most of these villages is between walking miles every day to find a hand pump, and drinking contaminated water.