Read About The Water Wives Of India Who Live Only To Fetch Water For Their Families


Men in drought-stricken Indian villages often take a second or even a third wife whose sole purpose is only to bring water to the family. They make several long trips to distant water sources every single day, carrying large vats of water on their heads. Oddity Central has more:

Life is hard in dry villages, like Denganmal, 150 km from Mumbai. Husbands are busy farming and tending to the animals, while the women do house chores and raise the children. However, someone still needs to bring water from sources often several kilometers away, for about 8 months out of a year, when there is no rainfall in the area. That’s why having two or even three wives is not at all uncommon in these parts. The men only have children with their first wives, while the other’s sole purpose is to provide water for the family, in exchange for a roof over their heads and the social status of wife. They are paaniwaali bais, water wives.

On any given day, a water wife in Denganmal will fetch over 100 liters of water from a source located 3 kilometers away, making several trips during the day and when it’s too hot, at night. It’s not uncommon to see a number of women walking for miles in temperatures of above 40 degrees Celsius, with huge pots of aluminium perched on their heads. However, doing this every day, regardless of weather conditions is bound to take its toll on anybody.

Locals report that water wives eventually start to go bald, become stunned and unable to bear children. Young water wives are more productive, so many men often take a third wife, after they notice the first water wife isn’t fetching as much water as she used to.