Determinants of water consumption: A cross-sectional household study in drought-prone rural India

In International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Volume (Issue): 24
Peer-reviewed Article

Rural household water consumption has not been well-researched compared to urban water consumption, particularly in developing countries. Using cross-sectional household-level data from 330 villages in a drought-prone rural district of India, determinants influencing domestic water consumption are studied. Per capita water consumption is found to lie much below the national standards as well as within or sometimes below the limit set for basic water requirements for emergency conditions. Household size is found to have largest, but inverse impact on household water consumption. Determinants like collection time and distance, participation in village meetings, local conflicts over water collection etc. are also identified as significant determinants of household water consumption. Also, as the socio-economic conditions vary from low to high, their water consumption also changes demonstrating an inequity in availability and accessibility to water among the households. We present a practical scenario of persisting household water stress situation prevailing in a drought-prone rural area that gets worsened with onset and duration of drought. The identified factors provide the key priorities that need to be addressed in policy making process to ensure basic water requirements of rural households in drought-prone areas.