Kurukshetra June 2019 Water Issues (Part-2) (Download PDF)


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Community & Water Quality Management: Community has an important role in maintaining not only hygiene near drinking water sources, in improving ways & means by which water is collected & storage to avoid contamination during collection storage & use.

NITI Aayog had recommended commissioning of community water purification plants & advocated for last mile connectivity of piped water supply schemes in 2016.

In 2017, Gol launched National Water Quality Sub-Mission to provide safe drinking water to 27,544 arsenic/fluoride affected rural habitations in a span of four years.

GOI aims at providing safe drinking water to 90 % of rural population it has outlined a strategic goal 2017 - 2030 to achieve Har Ghar Jal by 2030.

  • Community should ensure following to provide safe drinking water in each rural habitations,
  • Social mobilization, initiation of need analysis, preparation of water security plan & village action plan,
  • Discuss & deliberate on sustainability of drinking water schemes, explore new revenue sources like user fees, operation & maintenance fees, etc. for smooth operation & maintenance of water systems;
  • Prepare water safety plan to ensure water quality;
  • Ensure convergence w/line departments of district to plan & execute water conservation projects under PMKSY, MGNREGA, etc to ensure water recharge & increased water availability in rural areas;
  • Technical support cells in consultation w/District/block administration to ensure convergence in community & near project areas;
  • Coordinate w/District/block level authorities for promoting timely execution of water projects & fund utilization towards improving household water connections, operation & maintenance of piped water scheme activities & other water supply systems;
  • Coordinate w/District/block level authorities for adopting technologies & digital medium for monitoring of water schemes;
  • Arranging social audit of water schemes from time to time in consultation w/district line department officials;
  • Arrange training & capacity building programmes on water collection, storage & usage for grass root workers like ASHA workers, Anganwadi workers, science teachers, high school girl children, panchayat members, retired army officials, etc,
  • Conduct periodic sanitary survey;
  • Monitor water availability water sources & quality of water & arrange awareness camps;
  • Ensure availability of water testing kit for each Gram Panchayat & regular testing of water in accredited labs;

Training a few educated community volunteers on monitoring parameters of water system installed in locality & disseminate in community for better monitoring of schematic interventions.


  • Major challenge before Govt. is to ensure
  • safe drinking water in slipped back habitations thru vigorous restoration of defunct bore pumps, carrying out repairs of water supply pipelines, augmentation of supply wherever required
  • sustainability of quality water supply to areas covered under govt. programmes.
  • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, other schemes for watershed development & restoration of water bodies, etc. backed by a need based village level water planning.

Technology Innovations for Safe Drinking Water Supply

Availability of Safe & Clean Water

  • As per review of Millennium Development Gols done by united nations out of 35 Indian states, only 7 have achieved full coverage of having a safe water source for their villages.
  • Drinking water quality thus remains an issue & around 19000 villages contains fluorides, nitrates, pesticides, etc. beyond permissible limits.
  • In 1999, steps were launched to institutionalize Community’s participation in implementation of rural potable water schemes thru sector reform project, as part of National Water Policy in order to ensure sustainability of systems.

Water Quality: A major Concern

  • Govt. has launched National Rural Drinking Water Quality Monitoring & Surveillance Programme Which institutionalized community participation of district & state level laboratories for monitoring of drinking water sources at grassroots level thru Gram Panchayats.
  • Central Water Commission (CWC) regulates use of water to irrigate surface waters, industry & potable water. It mediates in disputes related to inter state water allocation.

Central Groundwater Board (CGWB) monitors groundwater levels & rates of Depletion & production of water resource inventories & maps.

  • National Rivers Conservation of action Plans to improve quality of rivers in India. Central Pollution Control Boards for laying down standards for treatment of sewage & effluents.
  • Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI) performs collection, compilation, analysis & dissemination of information on health conditions in country.
  • Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is responsible for drafting of standards pertaining to drinking water quality.
  • In our country, groundwater is major source of water & around 85 % of population is dependent on it. Nature of quality issue in groundwater is of two types.
  • Contamination caused by nature of geological formation, e. g. excess fluoride, arsenic, brackishness, iron etc. and human intervention such as intervention of chemical fertilizers.

Technology interventions for Drinking Water

  • Design of hand pumps is very important for better performance efficiency.
  • Diverse water treatment technologies are available to human consumption by removing unwanted chemicals or biological contaminants. Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) established use based classification of surface waters in India

Water treatment plants use technology that is both chemical & biologically safe & attractive in terms of colour, smell & taste. Below are some of prevalent technologies for water purification & treatment.

  • Capacitive deionization (CDI), is a technology in which a separator channel (w/a porous electrode on each side) removes ions from water,
  • Ozonation technique is based on ozone infusion into water for chemical water treatment;
  • In Ultraviolet technology, ultraviolet light is used to kill micro organisms of water,
  • A large majority of contaminants are removed in reverse osmosis technology thru a semi permeable membrane;
  • TERAFIL is burnt red clay porous media used for filtration & treatment of raw water into clean drinking water. This technology has been developed by Council of Scientific & industrial Research (CSIR);
  • OS Community scale Arsenic Filter is an Organic arsenic filter which is developed by IIT Kharagpur;
  • Filtration methods that may include rapid/show sand filters which remove rust, silt, dust & other particulate matter from water &
  • Solar water purification systems.

Method of filtration of domestic drinking water will vary depending on purification

Method used, required level of cleanliness or type of water pollutants.

Some of more popular methods for Household Water Treatment & Safe Storage (HWTS) options include boiling, Solar disinfection (SODIS), Filter combinations, Pureit filters, Chlorine Tablets, Liquid Chlorine (online, Biosand filters, flocculent treatment, Ceramic candle, Ultra Violet filters, Reverse Osmosis & Ion Exchange (IEX).

Innovation: Key to Resolve Drinking Water Crisis:

Clean water & sanitation is sixth goal of SDGs. Under SDG, it is targeted to achieve following global goals by 2030:

  • Universal & equitable access to safe & affordable drinking water for all;
  • Access to adequate & equitable sanitation & hygiene for all end open defecation paying special attention to needs of women & girls & those in vulnerable situations;
  • Improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping & minimizing release of hazardous chemicals & materials, halving proportion of untreated wastewater & substantially increasing recycling & safe reuse globally

Communication & Educational Innovation

  • Internet has inspired innovations in areas of water & sanitation, which have long needed fundamental changes in terms of available information & communication technology.
  • w/internet & other new technological tools, simple, appropriate technologies for supply of water can be implemented within weeks rather than years.
  • Worldwide programs to improve school facilities in developing countries have been developed by agencies such as UNICEF, UNDP, World Bank & WHO.
  • Medical science research has established a direct link between diarrhea & hygiene in schools.
  • Millennium Development Goal 7 United National created an innovative program celled WASH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene) which is essential for all time in improving people’s health, education & lifestyle, as well as in reducing poverty around world.

Water Security & Sustained Drinking Water Supply

  • Brahmaputra & Barak basin, w/only 7.3 % of geographical area & 4.2 % of country’s population have 31 % of annul water resources (CPCB (2014) States of Water Quality in India.
  • Groundwater (GW) which is currently lifeline of Rural India as it supports more than 85 % drinking water requirements in rural areas, is depleting at an unprecedented rate.

Drinking Water Situation in Rural India

National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP):

  • It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme launched in April, 2009 aimed at providing every person in rural India w/adequate safe water for drinking, cooking & other domestic basic needs on a sustainable basis.
  • Audit of NRDWP was conducted by Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) of India in 2018 to assess how far objectives of programme were achieved between 2012 to 2017 & examine various aspects of Programme such as planning, delivery mechanism, fund management, implementation including coverage of partially covered & quality affected habitations, water quality monitoring & surveillance.
  • Due to diff. topography & agro climatic conditions, various regions in India had diff. structures to utilize & conserve water.

- Published/Last Modified on: June 22, 2019


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