Tap Water for all in rural India
General Studies 2:
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
General Studies 3:
- Conservation, Environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
About Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM)
Government of India has restructured and subsumed the ongoing National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) into Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) to provide Functional Household Tap Connection (FHTC) to every rural household i.e., Har Ghar Nal Se Jal (HGNSJ) by 2024.
Proposed Jal Jeevan Mission will be a decentralised, community-managed and sustainable water management scheme –
- Out of 17.87 crore rural households in the country about 14.6 crore which accounts for 81.67 percent are yet to have household tap connections for water.
- JJM envisages a structural change in the provision of drinking water supply services. The service provision should change to ‘utility based approach’ centered on ‘service delivery’
- The government had also integrated different ministries and departments dealing with water into one ministry — the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
- JJM aims at providing potable water at service level of 55 litre per capita per day (lpcd) to every rural household through Functional Household Tap Connection (FHTC) by 2024.
- The fund sharing pattern between the Centre and states is 90:10 for Himalayan and North-Eastern States, 50:50 for other states, and 100% for Union Territories.
- Jal Jeevan Mission adopts a bottom to top approach, where the users and Paani Samitis (Water Committees) in the villages envision the whole project from its implementation to maintenance and operation.
- The mission has also ensured that at least 50% of the members of the water committee would be women.
Work to be taken up under JJM:
- In-village water supply (PWS) infrastructure for tap water connection to every household
- Reliable drinking water source development/ augmentation of existing sources
- Transfer of water (multi-village scheme; where quantity & quality issues are there in the local water sources)
- Technological intervention for treatment to make water potable (where water quality is an issue, but quantity is sufficient)
- Retrofitting of completed and ongoing piped water supply schemes to provide FHTC and raise the service level
- Grey water management
- Capacity building of various stakeholders and support activities to facilitate the implementation
73rd Amendment of Constitution of India
Gram Panchayats or its sub-committees will play a crucial role in planning, designing, execution, operations and maintenance of the in-village infrastructure under the Jal Jeevan Mission – Every village is to prepare a village action plan (VAP) which will be essentially having three components namely;
- Water source & its maintenance
- Water supply and
- Grey water management.
‘Margadarshika for Gram Panchayats and Paani Samitis under Jal Jeevan Mission’ (Guidelines for the Village Panchayats and Water Committees)
- The Mardarshika Guidelines will guide the members of the Water Committee and Gram Panchayats in taking the right decisions.
- A special 100-day campaign is being launched on 2nd Oct this year under Jal Jeevan Mission to ensure drinking water connection to every school and Anganwadi in the country.
Unburdening lives of women
For a country with 16 per cent of the world’s population, and only 4 per cent of the world’s freshwater resources, with the changing weather patterns and frequent droughts, over 250 of the 700 districts of India’s districts are now water stressed. Two hundred and fifty six of our approximately 700 districts have groundwater levels which are “critical” or “over-exploited” as per the latest data from the Central Ground Water Board (2017). To put it simply, this means that fetching water in these districts is now that much harder, as the water table has fallen that much deeper. According to a report by the National Commission for Women, on an average, a rural woman in Rajasthan walks over 2.5 km to reach a water source. This is probably an underestimate, but the bottomline is that our women and girls spend a significant proportion of their time on fetching water.
With women playing a leadership role in managing their community’s water resources, minus the drudgery of walking for miles to fetch water for their families, the Jal Jeevan Mission will provide a massive fillip to the ease of living for women, and they will no longer be beasts of burden.
The Way Forward
- Need to relook at water-guzzling sugarcane —with a value chain that sucks is terrible in terms of subsidies at various stages
- Need to reimagine the public health engineering department (PHED) as not just a technical body but also as a public utility that oversees water entitlements as well as pricing of such entitlements is a goal. Digital sensors could facilitate remote monitoring of household water supply and quality, and eliminate tedious meter readings.
- This devolution can be incentivised by GoI, linked to milestones state governments and gram panchayats must reach, and hand-held by NGOs. For instance, JJM could tie up with the skill development ministry to train village women to measure turbidity and quality.
- On the lines of the Swachh Bharat Mission, extensive information, education and communication will be needed to create a jan andolan for water management. The ongoing Jal Shakti Abhiyan will help in creating awareness about the importance of integrating source sustainability and water reuse with the provision of household water supply.
Note: Jal Shakti Ministry
- The new ministry has been formed by merging the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation and Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
- All water related works will be merged under one ministry.
- The new ministry will encompass issues ranging from providing clean drinking water, international and inter-states water disputes, to the Namami Gange project aimed at cleaning Gang and its tributaries, and sub tributaries.
Connecting the Dots:
- Enlightened water policy needs infrastructure. But more than that, it requires institutions with local and village ownership. Analyse.
- How severe is the problem of groundwater contamination in India? What are its most causative factors?