Slums or squatter settlements in the city like Hyderabad are often denied from the basic services of safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene facilities. They are treated as illegal settlements or categorized as illegal encroachers located in the urban peripheries and are hardly considered in the city development planning. Record says a third of Hyderabad’s population (i.e., over 20 lakh people) live in slums. According to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation accounting, there are 1448 slums, of which 280 are un notified. Piped drinking water supply (368 km in length) is available for 60% of the population, and this is supplemented by 2131 drinking water supply public stand posts. Sanitation coverage, with sewer lines 672 km in length, and storm water drains of 602 kms, is available for about 55% of the population. Poor water supply and sanitary infrastructure, lack of provisions and awareness about health and hygiene facilities are forcing millions of marginalized urban poor to defecate openly leading disastrous health and environmental consequences. It has largely been observed that most of the cases these marginalized communities failed to articulate their rights and entitlements in an organized manner. They are many times not aware of several government schemes and programmes available.
With this background in mind SaciWATERs in partnership SPD initiated a campaign in 2013 towards right to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene of the slum dwellers in the urban and periurban Hyderabad. Under the aegis of WaterAid, the project aimed to create an organized community platform called Basti Vikas Manch to voice the rights of the marginalized urban poor. Three clusters of Rasoolpura, Bholakpur and Addagutta were taken during the first phase of the project. Baseline surveys showed that although water supply coverage was relatively high of about 85% in all the three clusters they are often characterized by irregular supply, non functional water points etc. Typically water was supplied on alternate days, with frequency decreasing in the summer. Compared to water supply, sanitation converge shows a dismal picture where only 60 percent of the households have sanitary infrastructure. Project created three BVMs at the cluster level to capacitate the slum dwellers to fight for their own WASH rights. The success of the first phase of the project in terms of creating an enabling environment to negotiate on rights to WASH through effective networking with the urban local bodies has promoted to expand the initiative to larger urban sphere. The proposed project aims to upscale the ongoing campaign of right to WASH by creating a federation of BVMs at slums, cluster and city level.