- This Independence Day, the Prime Minister announced the Jal Jeevan Mission, which plans to supply water to all households by 2024.
Importance of the mission
- For many years, the central and state governments have been making efforts to increase access to safe and adequate drinking water.
- Household water supply issues – Though the basic quantity of drinking water in rural India has been provided through hand pumps etc., household water supply remains a challenge. A low percentage of rural Indian households have access to this service.
- Institutional unity – Institutions for water at both the Centre and state governments have been fragmented, with several ministries in Delhi and departments in states dealing with different aspects of water management. Jal Shakti Mantralaya to integrate the management of water resources is a landmark step.
- Source conservation – Inadequate attention to sustain the source of the water. Instead of simple and local measures like creating rainwater harvesting structures, the emphasis has been more on maximizing the pumping of water and distributing it through pipes. Many of the systems have either shut down or function suboptimally as the groundwater source has dried up.
- Decentralization –
- Provision of drinking water was viewed primarily as an engineering solution, with schemes planned and executed by the public health and engineering departments.
- Programs like the Swajal project in UP and WASMO program in Gujarat demonstrated that water can be most efficiently managed at the lowest appropriate level.
- Single village ground water-based schemes would be managed by the community itself through the setting up of a village water and sanitation committee. Local innovations such as solar-based schemes will be encouraged.
- Household water – household wastewater amounts to about 75% of the amount of water supplied.
- Under the Jal Jeevan Mission, huge quantities of household wastewater will be generated across the country.
- It is planned to include a mandatory provision under the Jal Jeevan Mission for the effective channeling and treatment of household wastewater through appropriate and low-cost drainage and treatment systems.
- Extensive information, education, and communication will be needed to create a jan andolan for water management.