Many of us take water for granted. We let the tap run while brushing teeth, use an unnecessary amount when showering, using the toilet, washing utensils in the kitchen, or doing some other household chores.

However, those suffering from the lack of water would go to extreme lengths - quite literally - to get a small amount of what they consider treasure.

Take for example, 10-year-old Siddhart Daghe from the drought-hit Marathwada region in Maharashtra in India.

During his summer school break, he travels 14 kilometres in a packed train every day, to collect just two cans of water.

Siddhart is not alone. His friends Ayesha Garud and her sister Sakshi, aged 12 and 10 respectively, also make the arduous journey on a daily basis.

Over 7,000 villages in the region have been hit by the drought, forcing thousands of women and children to walk kilometres daily just to get a single bucket of water.

As for Siddhart, he gets on the train at the Mukundwali railway station around noon, to travel to the Aurangabad city station, which is seven kilometres away - just to fill up two cans of water that he carries on his own.

The train is often late and Siddhart, together with Ayesha and Sakshi, wait under a tree to shelter from the scorching sun.

A bigger challenge lies when the train eventually arrives - to get on the crowded locomotive without spilling the contents of the can, and finding a place to sit amid the crowd.

Then begins the seven kilometre journey back home. By the time Siddhart reaches home with the precious commodity, it is almost sun down.

Housing areas hit too

The drought has not only hit the rural area hard; housing areas in the locality are also affected.

For instance, Nirmala Devi Nagar, a locality which about 300 daily-wage earners call home, has no municipal water supply.

Water sent by the municipal council tankers once every four days is also very expensive, and beyond the affordability of the area residents.

Sumanbai Navgire, 51, is one such victim of a dried-up borewell. She also has to contend with long train rides to collect water. This desperate need for water has united her with Siddhart and she has become sort of a "guardian" for him and the two girls during train rides.

The children's parents are worried for the young ones' safety but have no other choice, as they have to work to make ends meet.

Although the local government is aware of this predicament, it says it is unable to help.

Aurangabad Municipal Corporation mayor Nandkumar Ghode says while he is "sorry" for the predicament faced by Siddhart and the others, he is unable to help as the local government's priority is to provide drinking water to those who pay for water supply.

The condition is so severe that even houses with taps only get water once every five or six days.

It is extremely pitiful for Siddhart and the other children to go through such pain to get water, which should be an absolute right for every human.

So the next time you let the tap run while doing chores, try to remember the suffering Siddhart and the others have to go through.

Source: Times of India.
Photo source: Times of India.