Kurukshetra - Back

Water Security and Sustained Drinking Water Supply

Why is it challenging to make India a water secured nation?

1. Demand pressures from various sectors

2. Changing cropping pattern

3. High rate of urbanization and industrialization

4. Climate change

5. Water pollution

6. India receives an average annual rainfall of around 1100 mm but there is a huge regional and temporal variation in the distribution of rainfall.

7. Over reliance on centralized systems and insufficient attention towards traditional water harvesting systems.

8. Disconnect of the community from water management.

How is the situation in rural India?

1. National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme launched in April, 2009 aimed at providing every person in rural India with adequate safe water.

2. As per the Integrated Management Information System (Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation), more than 80% of the rural habitations have reached Fully Covered status, which means they are receiving 40 litres per capita per day.

3. Around 15% of the habitations are Partially Covered and 3.5% habitations have some water quality related issues.

4. This data is dynamic and it has been found in the past that many of the fully covered habitations have returned to partially covered status.

5. As per the report of performance audit of the NRDWP by CAG in 2018, there is insufficient community involvement, lack of long-term sustainability plan, over reliance on depleting resources and lack of focus on operation and maintenance of created infrastructure.

Which are the practices followed to conserve water?

1. Obstructing/diverting the flow of stream or river and storing water using gully bunds/check dams etc. These structures are built mainly in hilly regions and also act as soil trap.

2. Storage in wells/step wells/below ground level storage structures are used to meet domestic water requirements and are found in western arid regions of India. Step wells trap rainwater and due to no direct exposure to sunlight and surface temperatures it reduces evaporation losses.

3. Collection and use of rainwater on surface: These structures are constructed in the flow of a seasonal stream or the excess runoff is diverted into this such as nadirs, kudos, tales, farm ponds etc.

What are the methods for treatment of drinking water?

1. Slow sand filters (SSF): It purifies the water efficiently by reducing turbidity and bacterial contamination.

2. Chlorination: This method removes taste and odor as well as biological contamination.

3. Solar Disinfection (SODIS): A clean and transparent PET plastic bottle (below two litres) is filled with water and kept in direct sunlight for 6 hours during noon on sunny days and two days if the sky is more than 50% clouded. It removes 99.9% of micro-organisms.

Where do policy recommendations need to focus?

1. Better data

2. Basin/sub-basin level water management

3. Water source improvement

4. Integrated water and waste management

5. Supply and access augmentation

6. Demand side management

7. Capacity building

8. Institutional and legislative reforms

9. Revival of traditional wisdom

10. Preparedness for disasters