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tv   Indias Wait for Water  BBC News  August 12, 2022 3:30am-4:01am BST

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this is bbc news. the headlines: the us attorney general has defended the justice department's decision to seek a search warrant for former president donald trump's residence in florida. merrick garland said his department would now be applying for a court order to reveal what it was looking for and what it had found. heatwaves, wildfires and drought are continuing to affect large parts of europe. in southern france, 1,000 firefighters have been mobilised to tackle what they've described as a monster blaze. a number of european countries are sending help. it's prompted increasing concern about the effects of climate change. and staying with climate change — new research suggests the arctic is warming significantly more quickly than previously thought, at on average four times the rate of the rest of the world.
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scientists examined satellite data gathered during the past four decades over the entire arctic circle. now on bbc news: india's wait for water. from the hot desert to the cold mountains and dry arid plains, only a fraction of the 200 million homes in india's villages have tap water. bbc�*s divya arya investigates. when you can't get water from taps, life revolves around where the water is. india's villages house 200 million families. only a fraction have tap water. it's very hard to carry pots of water repeatedly
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on your head from that source of water to the village, which is almost a kilometre from here. from the hot desert... ..to the cold mountains... ..and dry, arid plains. it's backbreaking. i want to find out when will the walk be over? when will water come home? in 2019, prime minister narendra modi made a promise. to bring water through taps to each home in every village by 202a.
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he said it will ease women's daily lives. i've set out on a journey across the country to check out the government's claims. these are the dry, arid plains of central india. they used to be green, but after recurring droughts, this is the kind of water some villages are left with. buffaloes bathe here, and some women, too. some take this water for washing and cleaning. managing the family's water needs is women's work here. there aren't many choices.
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these villages are infamous for their water crises. it's a hard life that no woman would choose. families don't want to marry their daughters into these villages, and when they do, these men tell me the women want to leave. it's a growing list of single men, getting older, looking for brides. i ask how many are unmarried here. three are nudged to stand up. one is called a reject. used to the jibe, he smiles. translation: i was 22 when the first marriage j proposal came. in total, five families came to meet my parents, but when they got to know
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of the water crisis here, they left. i ask how they would convince the prospective brides�* families. perhaps offer to help their daughters fetch water? translation: no, i have other work, and she has different - work. she has to cook food, clean the house. i have to tend to the animals, farm and travel to attend social gatherings. so it's down to vimal�*s mother. she fetches water, washes his clothes, and cooks for him. there are three other sons, but they don't live here. the village didn't have much work so they moved out and found brides, too. she says she's never benefited
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from being the mother of sons. sons who would bring brides, that is other women, to share her water burden. the terrain is rocky and the distance is long so it's very hard to carry lots of water repeatedly on your head from that source of water to the village, which is almost a kilometre from here. as the morning blends into afternoon, and it gets hotter, the task of ferrying water also becomes harder. to help women, the village council arranges water tankers in summer. each woman gets five buckets full. five buckets for the whole household. coloured in the colour of impure water. even this support is not available in neighbouring
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villages. the women are angry, yet resigned to their destiny. translation: drink the water i've just drawn and you will. get a taste of what we drink every day. translation: there was a hand pump outside my home - in my maternal village, but now i have to drink this dirt. if i knew how bad things were, i wouldn't have agreed to the marriage. but are women asked about their choice at the time of marriage? i asked this woman. translation: they didn't ask me. i don't know about others. she was 15 years old when she was married.
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she has spent the last ten years around this well. in summer, the water level recedes. then they have to fill waterfrom puddles. translation: we dig puddles, climb into them, and fill water. in small pots. then we let it stand for a couple of hours, and after the dirt settles, we use it. what can we do? so we are enduring it. wherever there is water here, it stinks. this villager explains that the water, in which the buffaloes are bathing seeps in, polluting the water in the well. but it's all they have. translation: this is the only source of drinking water - for the village. it is used to bathe
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and wash clothes too. if we dig deep for hand pumps, we get hard water and it can't even get soap out of clothes. the government tap water scheme, the jaljeevan mission, is looking for solutions to find clean water and then supply it directly to homes. it believes rivers are the answer. this is such a lovely version of the yamuna. back in my city, delhi, where i grew up, it's dirty, shallow, it's polluted. but here, its lush, it's 200 metres wide, and this is the peak of summer. when it rains after monsoons, it will get even more lush, deep. and this river is now going to be used to service this dry, arid, rocky region of this area,
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where ground water has dried up, whatever is there is not fit for drinking. the rains are not regular. every other year is declared a drought. so the government plans to use surface water from the yamuna to take it to individual houses via tap water connections in 400 villages in this area. it is a solution tried by previous governments too. then the river's water wasn't enough. it dried up and the crisis swelled again. how will this time be any different? the engineer struggles to explain. translation: we plan to use surface water. i we have assessed that, if we dig a certain amount of water, it will not lead to scarcity. if there wasn't enough water in the yamuna river, the scheme wouldn't
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have been sanctioned. the deadline is looming large, and the project is lagging behind in central india. would the experience be any different in the mountains in the north? 13,700 feet above sea level in the dramatic cliffs of the himalayas. it is popular among tourists. not many realise this is a desert over a mountain. in this cold desert, as you go up because of the high altitude, oxygen levels come down so it is harder to breathe
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and there is almost no vegetation around. all you can see are these dry, lifeless mountains. i reach a small, remote village and find it buzzing. a water tanker has arrived. there are no taps at homes here, so everybody wants to fill up. i volunteer to help, and lamo readily agrees. but it is hard to keep pace. ifall behind. translation: | keep | water for drinking here, and for washing utensils, here.
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but the water from the tanker is often not enough. then lamo has to make trips to the glacial stream. it is a long trek. i asked lamo's husband why we bypassed lower streams. he explains to me that they were dirty, and at the top is the cleanest source. in winter, all of this is even harder. translation: temperatures fall so low that water freezes - when left outside, so we fill only as much as we need. if we need 20 litres, we fill 20 litres. so do you not store water at all?
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if we store, then we have to put blankets around the water tank. even then, ice forms overnight, and we have to take a clean wooden stick in the morning to break it. running water would be the best solution. lamo and sanam also got a tap installed over the new government scheme. it is thermal—coated to prevent freezing, but water is yet to arrive. traditionally, these glacial springs had enough water to service the drinking water needs of the entire region. but over the decades, as the himalayan ice has receded, the streams have shrunk, and the region has had to move its dependence from springs and surface water to underground water. ladakh is sparsely populated.
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it has enough underground water for now, but as more tourists head here, this could change soon. and water could deplete, just like the rest of the country. at this moment, the focus is to supply what's available to homes here. a maze of pipelines is being laid. to prevent freezing, the digging is much deeper than on the plains. 66 inch! "5.5 feet deep," i'm told. it's the same for water tanks. wow! translation: ladakh is not like plains where there - are overhead tanks from where
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water is distributed to homes in the village. here, tanks are built underground to prevent water from freezing. we are using solar panels extensively because, out of 365 days, ladakh has 320 sunny days. this will reduce operation and maintenance cost. after a year of preparation, water supply is being tested in the village today. mobile phone rings hello, hello? apart from a few homes, taps remain dry. the local engineer explains that a pipe burst, causing leakage. mistakes they can ill afford.
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fear of freezing and pipes bursting in winter, is widespread. so much so that a neighbouring village got taps but refused water supply. it was turned on only in summer. spalzes and her sister's life is much easier now. after a month of regular water supply, the scheme has finally won their trust. translation: initially, j we weren't sure if water supply would work. now the engineer has explained that they have made a pit at the end of the supply line. this means extra water would run off there and the pipe will not burst. although she worries, she is hopeful, too. she has never travelled outside ladakh. she likes it here, their simple life. if only they also
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had tap water. and, finally, to india's west, the thar desert. barren landscape, dotted with women in bright colours. it's like the scenery changes, the walk the water remains. in scorching heat, often barefoot. baby cries many times in a day. day after day, after day. translation: married i women here are expected to keep their face covered. she tells me she and her four daughters—in—law make four trips to fetch water
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in the morning, four in the afternoon and four in the evening. it is sam right now. every drop is precious. goats bleet used with care and, if possible, used again. it's hard to find water in the sand dunes here. hand pumps don't yield anything, and open pipes are a reminder of failed wells. the lifeline of the desert has been these reservoirs that store rainwater.
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but as this this farmer tells me, a few months of rain is not enough to quench a year's thirst. translation: the reservoir dries up and then we have i to pay to get a water tanker. even the tanker comes on a tractor as there is no road. then plants start growing at the bottom and deplete the water. we have to keep an eye, go down, and remove them regularly. homes are few and far between in the desert. getting water across sand dunes, a big challenge. the engineer in charge explains the ground work done over the last 50 years. translation: work on using | ground water in barmer began in the 1970s, by building open wells and tube wells.
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then 1990, the indira gandhi canal project was started, and it was completed by 2013. this brought water to the village. now the jaljeevan mission is bringing this water to each household. an oasis of water in the parched thar desert. this is the tail end of the ambitious indira gandhi canal project — india's largest. this project begins all the way up in the north, in the state of punjab and travels hundreds of kilometres to come down here to rajasthan where the water is treated, made fit for household consumption and then pumped to one million people living across the thar desert. now the government's new scheme wants to take the canal�*s water to the desert. like on top of this sand
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dune to malarum's house. he shows me the new pipe laid to his house. he has covered it in the sand to keep it safe from the scorching heat. now the wait for water. malarum's wife and daughter have again set out on their dailyjourney. tulsi was five years old when she started walking with her mother to the well. she told me she would take a small pot along. every bit counted. 0n the way i ask her mother, did the men in the family help? laughter she laughs and tells me, "the men won't even make "a cup of tea for themselves."
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"water is only women's work." she didn't know then that her life was about to change. today, the water from the indira gandhi canal is going to be supplied from this water tank to individual houses. the village council head is in charge. as is common in many indian villages, women get elected to these positions but remain homemakers. it's the men in the family who call the shots. he tells me about the schedule to ensure water supply to all houses in the village. and the supply is finally turned on. machine whirrs
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there is excitement at the house. she brings out two empty pots. and then more. first, it's the sound of the wind. wind rushes some more nervous anticipation. and then, finally, water. thank you very much.
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thank you. laughter translation: now i can rest easy. i've had a tough life, but no more walking with pots heavy with water, and no more paying for tankers. but for others, the wait continues. they live on a higher sand dunes, and it is still uncertain how and when water will be pumped there. india is one of 17 countries globally where water stress
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is extremely high. this means it is running out of ground and surface water. increasing population and climate change have been a strain. as the government finds ways to bring tap water to homes, it will also have to conserve and recharge the water that remains. because millions of women are still waiting, dreaming of a different life for their daughters. one where they will not have to walk to fetch water. hello.
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daytime and night—time temperatures continue to rise at the moment, probably peaking for many of you on saturday, but the met office amber warning for extreme heat across much of england and eastern wales goes all the way through into sunday. now, for friday, we're going to see blue skies again overhead for many from dawn till dusk. there will be a bit of patchy low cloud and fog here and there. that will clear, but across some eastern coasts, from lincolnshire northwards, into eastern scotland, we'll see some sea fog lap onshore every now and again, particularly eastern scotland. that will peg back the temperatures. still a lot of cloud in northern scotland, but a bit warmer than thursday. elsewhere, temperatures mid to high 20s, low to mid 30s, peaking around 35 degrees in the midlands. a pretty warm night will follow, but increasing chance of some sea fog and mist, even extending through the central belt to glasgow. temperatures up again a little bit through the night and into saturday morning. particularly warm through west cumbria and western parts of wales. but as we go through this weekend, as that heat peaks at 37 celsius in the london area on saturday, temperatures drop thereon. and there's the increasing chance of some showers.
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you're watching bbc news. i'm rich preston. our top stories: the us attorney—general defends the fbi's decision to search donald trump's florida home, and says he wants to reveal what they found. firefighters from across europe send help to france as it struggles to tackle so—called monster wildfires. new research shows the arctic has warmed nearly four times faster than the rest of the planet over the last a0 yea rs. the grim job of recovering and identifying the victims of the war in ukraine. we have a special report. and the restored mural in an english pub, painted as payment by a local artist and drinker.

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