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‘Clean Water’ – a podcast episode on what makes us human


This
is
an
episode
from
the
“What
Makes
Us
Human?”
podcast’s
fourth
season,
“What
Does
Water
Mean
for
Us
Humans?”
from
Cornell
University’s
College
of
Arts
&
Sciences.
Prof.
Prabhu
Pingali
explains
the
impact
of
clean,
piped-in
water
on
women
and
girls
in
India.


Read
about
the
episode
in
the
Cornell
Chronicle
.
Listen
to
the
recording
.
Review
the
transcript
below.

woman opening water tap at home in Indian village

Photo credit: Shiuli Vanaja. Transcript prepared by A&S Communications


By:
Prabhu
Pingali,
Director,
Tata-Cornell
Institute
for
Agriculture
and
Nutrition;
Professor
of
applied
economics
and
policy
and
nutritional
science,
College
of
Agriculture
and
Life
Sciences

Those
of
us
living
in
developed
countries
can
usually
take
access
to
good
quality
drinking
water
for
granted.
But
for
much
of
the
world,
access
to
clean
water
at
home
is
a
dream.
In
India,
only
about
40
percent
of
the
population
have
homes
with
water
piped
in.

This
means
that
someone

usually
women
and
girls

must
travel
(sometimes
great
distances)
to
fetch
water
for
drinking,
cooking,
bathing,
and
washing
dishes
and
clothes.
Imagine
how
much
water
you
use
a
day,
and
then
imagine
having
to
carry
every
ounce
of
that
to
your
home.
Those
transporting
the
water
often
have
to
make
several
trips
a
day
over
long
distances.
The
time
spent
carrying
water
is
time
not
spent
on
other
important
activities,
like
farming,
generating
income,
attending
school
or
caring
for
children
and
the
elderly.

An
average
woman
living
in
a
typical
Indian
village
is
over-burdened.
She
faces
the
hard
work
of
sowing,
transplanting
and
weeding
crops
by
hand.
In
her
home,
which
she
cleans,
she
plans
the
meals
and
does
all
the
cooking

from
scratch,
often
over
open
flames.
She
finds
and
carries
firewood
and
water,
she
feeds
the
livestock,
she
goes
to
market
and
does
the
shopping.
She
scrubs
the
dishes
and
she
washes
all
the
clothes
by
hand.
She
tends
to
the
children,
her
mother-in-law
and
her
husband.
Perhaps
she
attends
meetings
as
a
member
of
a
self-help
group
so
that
she
may
have
access
to
credit,
or
learn
new
skills
for
herself.
Plus,
she
is
held
responsible
for
upholding
social,
cultural
and
religious
obligations
in
her
community.
If
her
time
burdens
were
eased

even
a
little

she
might
have
time
to
rest
or
even
enjoy
a
bit
of
leisure.

The
Tata-Cornell
Institute
has
been
working
to
promote
and
study
the
effects
of
water,
sanitation
and
hygiene
projects.
For
example,
we’re
improving
the
access
and
availability
of
in-home
clean
water
on
tap
for
villages
in
India,
and
we’ve
also
been
constructing
and
encouraging
the
use
of
toilet
facilities.
We’ve
been
partnering
with
AguaClara,
which
has
been
building
water
treatment
centers
in
villages
around
the
world.

In
a
research
study,
we
found
that
in
the
villages
with
AguaClara
water
treatment
centers,
households
on
average
spend
60
percent
less
time
in
water
collection
per
day
compared
to
the
households
in
the
non-AguaClara
villages.
Imagine
40
minutes
per
day
compared
to
100
minutes.
This
is
a
big
difference
in
the
lives
of
women
and
girls!

When
water
is
brought
into
the
home
from
a
safe,
screened
source
there
are
health
benefits
as
well:
the
incidence
of
water-borne
illnesses,
like
diarrhea,
are
significantly
reduced.
Diarrhea
is
a
leading
cause
of
death
for
children
across
the
developing
world.

With
clean
water
on
tap

as
well
as
the
successful
adoption
of
toilets

women
spend
less
time
sick
and
less
time
caring
for
others
who
are
sick.
They
don’t
have
to
exert
effort
and
time
walking
far
out
to
the
fields
to
relieve
themselves.
Water,
Sanitation
and
Hygiene

or
WASH

interventions
are
game
changers
for
women.

When
women
don’t
have
to
haul
water,
our
studies
show
they
use
their
free
time
for
entrepreneurial
activities
to
improve
their
income,
more
focus
on
their
children
and,
not
least,
the
freedom
to
enjoy
leisure.
Leisure
time
is
a
rarity
in
many
developing
countries,
but
its
importance
is
often
overlooked.

And
when
young
girls
don’t
have
to
help
gather
water,
they
can
use
their
time
for
education:
we
find
that
attendance
in
school
improves
with
access
to
clean
water.
Since
studies
show
that
education
is
the
single
most
important
factor
in
improving
the
lives
of
girls
and
women
in
developing
countries,
bringing
clean
water
to
villages
should
be
a
top
priority
for
us
all.



With
thanks
to
Linda
Glaser
and
Jessica
Ames
for
their
work
on
the
script



Photo
credit:
Shiuli
Vanaja