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56% MORE WATER IN RESERVOIRS THAN LAST YEAR

Do we have enough water?

  • Under a lockdown with summer approaching and with the injunction of constant hand washing as a preventative for the spread of COVID-19 the water availability in India was a concern.
  • The plentiful rains last year and heavy snowfall in the Himalayan States have ensured that in terms of just volumes, we have 56% more water than we had last year in the reservoirs.
  • 132 reservoirs under the Central government out of the 5,000 total reservoirs provide two thirds of the total supply of water across the country – These Reservoirs have 56% more water than last year and 47% higher than the average for the last 10 years.

What has been the feedback from the States?

  • Water is a State subject, and Ministers of all States were asked to ensure that there is enough drinking water during the lockdown and the weeks ahead.
  • There is enough water to get us through this period, both for drinking and irrigation.

What about Jal Jeevan Mission?

  • The Jal Jeevan Mission was launched as a time-bound Mission by hon’ble Prime Minister in September 2019.
  • Its urgency is underlined by the fact that COVID-19 is accompanied by lockdowns and the emphasis on hand-washing as a preventative.
  • The works have now been divided into those where only retrofitting is required, those where existing water bodies need to be harnessed and green field works.
  • The importance of the Mission cannot be emphasised enough under the present circumstances and we are determined that our promise of piped drinking water to every home be fulfilled in the time-frame suggested earlier.

More about Jal Jeevan Mission

  • Jal Jeevan Mission, a central government initiative under the Ministry of Jal Shakti, aims to ensure access of piped water for every household in India.
  • National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) was restructured and subsumed into Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) – to provide Functional Household Tap Water (FHTC) to every rural household with service level at the rate of 55 lpcd i.e., Har Ghar Nal Se Jal (HGNSJ) by 2024.

Implications  

  • Supply of water to all households is a basic necessity
  • Reduction in water borne diseases which was due to due to consumption of substandard water

Challenges

  • Critical situation of Decrease in ground water table.
  • Water demand and supply is a miss match
  • Contamination of local ground level sources of water like, ponds lakes and wells.
  • Sustaining the provision of water to all households is a challenge, not just starting it.

Way forward:

  • Integrated water management Programme from school level.
  • Jan andolan for Conservation of water,
  • Curb ground water and surface water pollution
  • Stopping the over exploitation of ground water
  • Ground water mapping, using GIS enabled systems, use of ICT to track the availability of water should be done by government.
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September 2022
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