Jal Jeevan Mission:
Ensuring water Security
1.Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recently released the Operational guidelines of Jal Jeevan Mission which is a central govternment’s initiatives to provide Functional Household Tap Connections to every rural household y 2024. Out of 17.87 crore households in the country about 14.6 crore which accounts for 81.67 per cent are yet to have household tap connections for water.
2.The Jal Jeevan Scheme will be implemented through institutional mechanism at four levels-National, States, District and Gram panchayat or its subcommittee.Women will play a bigger role in this scheme and the Paani Samitis or the user group will decide about the user fee for sustainability of the scheme.
3.Implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission
- This programme is be rolled out over the next five years and the plan is to go from about the 18 and 19 per cent which is the current coverage of tap water and rural households to 100 % in just 5 years.
- The Paani Samitis will have at least 50% representation by women but hopefully more even going to the 100%. The women who have borne a brunt and drudgery fetching water from long distances will now be in a situation to take the lead in this programme determine what kind of technology they want, what kind of scheme they want.
4.Positives from the Scheme:
- The government created the Ministry of Jal Shakti. It integrated the water resources management part and service delivery of drinking water and sanitation. This is the first time in the water sector where there has been institutional integration.
- This mission is complimentary to the Atal Bhujal Yojana which will ensure source sustainability.
- The implementation will help reach India reach the Sustainable Development Goal target well before 2030.
- It will also provide an opportunity to reorient our water systems to meet the challenges posed by climate change.
- Space technology, aquifer mapping, 3-D contour mapping and use of sensor technology will be part of the programme.
- All stakeholders were involved in developing the guidelines-including NGOs, CSOs consultations and local citizens groups
- Capacity building will be the core of the programme.
- With Respect to Women and the Community:
- Women who have borne the brunt and drudgery of fetching water from long distances will now be able to take a lead in the programme.
- Paani samiti will be a statutory subcommittee of the gram panchayat. The paani samithis will have at least 50% representations by women and can go much more even upto 100%.
- Concept of user fee gives a signal that water is a precious commodity.
- Involvement of the community makes the mission a Jan Andolan.
5.Issues with Implementation:
- At the microlevel there is a mismatch between water supply and demand and if things continue as such ,by 2050 the demand will surpass supply.Therefore, only providing a tap connection would not suffice but it is the sustainability of water supply that matters.
- Fresh water bodies such as wetlands, rivers, etc should be preserved.
- Due to terrain and topographic variations, it is impossible to supply piped water to everybody.
- Water is a state subject therefore, state governments involvement is very important.
- Although the centre now has an integrated water ministry, there is no parallel type of convergence at state level.
- Water Managers will not be attuned to modern practices and they have to trained. Synergy between ground and surface water needs to be understood.
- Integrated water management by incorporating source sustainability practices into the programme like groundwater recharge, wetland conservation etc.
- A policy on how different sectors draw water from fresh water sources and planning for the same is required.
- Greater coordination is required among ministries like the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Ministry of Human Resources Development and among others..
- There are new concepts in the mission like digitalisation of greywater, planning etc. Capacity building of water managers at the state level is very important.
- Decentralised solutions to ensure water availability to marginalised people can also be considered.