Rural Drinking Water Service Levels: A Study of Andhra Pradesh, South India
“Water for all at all times” continues to be a policy objective for the Government of India, which is close to achieving full coverage in terms of access to infrastructure. However, the vision of adequate quantity, quality, reliability and a predictable water supply at household level to everyone has yet to be achieved. In 2010/11 the WASHCost Project collected data from 5000 households over 100 villages in 9 agro-climatic zones in Andhra Pradesh, India, using a range of quantitative and qualitative methods to assess service delivery. Analysis reveals that users receive “basic” and “sub-standard” services despite high levels of investment in infrastructure. Maps using geographical information systems (GIS) demonstrate inequitable distribution of services among households; often the poorest families and disadvantaged caste groups receive relatively lower service levels. The study highlights the need for strategies to improve service delivery, build the capacities of communities and establish governance structures to ensure equitable services across social and economic groups.