One of the most important determinants of community health and well being is the status of safe drinking water and sanitation. These facilities are critical component of what we call it as “Health Infrastructure”. It has been reflected in various researches that the safe drinking water and improved sanitation can lead to substantial reduction of instances of diseases in the country which are preventive in nature.

The status of Orissa in terms of coverage under safe drinking water was higher than national average in terms of coverage of rural and urban habitations with safe source of drinking water supply, tubewells and shallow wells. However, there are several areas of concern. Water quality in many pockets is a serious issue. In some areas such as Nuapada, the content of fluoride in the ground water is much more than the mandated levels. Frequent breakdown in tube wells and rural piped water supply units is another problem area. The rural people in many parts are still not tuned to appreciate the value of safe drinking water.


Table: Current status of water and sanitation in Orissa vis-à-vis India

Indicators Orissa India
TSC target met on Household latrines[1] 34% 51%
TSC target met on schools1 86% 79%
TSC target met on AWCs1 72% 68%
Rural Drinking water: Fully Covered habitations1 81% 73%
Schools with girls having separate toilets[2] 27% -
Diarrhoea Disability-Adjusted Life Years per 1000 persons related to poor Watson provision[3] 17.31 14.53

[1] On-line monitoring query Jan-10, Department of Drinking Water Supply, Ministry of Rural Development; GOI, http://www.ddws.gov.in;
[2] DISE Data 2006-07
[3] WHO Estimates, estimates by A. Cronin, S.Dutta for orissa


The sanitation habits of people in rural area are still poor. Orissa lags far behind in terms of access to toilet facilities. Between 2001 and 2010 sanitation overall coverage in Orissa increased from 8% to 42% but sustained toilet usage, sustainability of NGPs and adoption of best hygiene practices remain key challenges. At the current rate, Orissa is expected to achieve MDG 7 by 2013 and have open defecation free status by 2022. The Total Sanitation Campaign Programme is implemented in all the 30 districts. Besides creating awareness among people to demand sanitation, the campaign offers a mix of incentives and investment. This programme has been able to cover only 37 percent of rural households with cost effective usable toilets.

While coverage of drinking water is high, the equitable access to drinking water and water safety remains a major concern. Major reason for perpetuation of diseases like diarrhoea, gastroenteritis, anemia and jaundice can be attributed to the non-availability of safe drinking water with poor sanitation facilities and practices. Availability of drinking water facilities remains very poor in Orissa. Only 25.6% of households are covered by piped water supply or by hand pumps in the State as against 88.5% households covered at the national level. Though over 80% of schools have drinking water, there is still a long way to go to ensure all schools are covered with sanitation facilities.

Important indicators Water and Sanitation in Orissa, Economic Survey 2010-11