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Flowing success

Water conservation is an integral part of India’s identity and cultural history. Water conservation in the form of rainwater harvesting is an ancient Indian tradition that is becoming more appropriate in today’s scenarios. India is home to 18% of the world’s population and 15% of livestock, with only 4% of freshwater resources and its availability diminishing over time.

The World Economic Forum recognizes water as one of the top five global risks of long-term impact in its 2020 Global Risks Report, and is the Combined Water Management Index of the National Committee for Transformation Organizations of India (NITI Aayog). Is forecast to be 6%. Loss of gross domestic product (GDP) due to reduced water availability in India.

Therefore, water conservation is essential not only to overcome shortages, but also to prepare for climate change risks and socio-economic development. Over the past few years, the Government of India has made sustainable, people-centric efforts to promote water conservation and supply. We have launched several projects, including the ambitious Jal Jeevan Mission, to ensure that water does not limit the country’s socio-economic development.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi calls on Indians to save water through the monthly radio show Mann Ki Baat, and under his leadership, the government has taken several initiatives to promote water conservation across the country. It is working.

Fluctuations in rainfall: Hydrologically, India is not blessed with water fairness both temporally and geographically. From June to September, the southwest monsoon accounts for 70% of total rainfall, and from October to December, the northeast monsoon accounts for 30%. However, average rainfall varies from more than 2,000 mm in the northeastern Western Ghats and the Sub-Himalayan region to less than 500 mm in western Rajasthan and the Deccan Plateau, so there are large regional disparities. On average, India has 130 rainy days, with more than 50% of annual rainfall occurring within 100 hours.

The use of groundwater, which is considered a lifeline in most parts of the country, is also increasing. India’s groundwater extraction is more than double that of the United States and China. With reduced per capita water availability, overfishing of groundwater, and the availability of inadequate storage, the Prime Minister’s complaint is timely to address this critical issue. Unless addressed now, this issue can be an obstacle to our rapid socio-economic development.

Women in Indian villages are trained in water quality monitoring using the Field Test Kit (FTK).

Gujarat model

Water is the subject of the state of India, and the state is empowered to enact legislation for its regulation. The reason why the Prime Minister called for a movement of people in water conservation can be traced back to his pioneering role in Gujarat’s integrated water management as the then Prime Minister.

After taking office as Prime Minister of the State in October 2001, he took priority steps to provide safe drinking water to the drought-affected areas of the state. He also introduced several development initiatives to promote integrated water management to meet the growing demand for water in growing economic activities. Countermeasures include rainwater harvesting, artificial recharge through scientific planning and surveillance, strengthening of existing canal systems and construction of new dams such as the Sardar Sarova Dam, and water conservation and management of all water distribution networks. It included people’s participation in the effort.

He also focused on educating farmers on water conservation and the creation of water and hygiene management organizations to plan and implement a decentralized, demand-driven, community-managed water supply system in the village. .. The integrated water management approach has been very successful in Gujarat. By 2017, the amount of groundwater recharge available in Gujarat has increased by 50% compared to 2004 and is continuously improving. Since 2001, the state’s agricultural production has increased by 255 percent. Today, more than 83% of rural households in Gujarat have a reliable supply of tap water, and more than 76% of families pay monthly water bills on a regular basis.

Water treatment plant and fresh water reservoir in Dantiwada, Gujarat.

Breaking the Silo Approach: At the national level, at the beginning of 2019, Prime Minister Modi created the Ministry of Jal Shakti by bringing all the relevant ministries under one umbrella. Supply and Demand, Quality and Access This move meant that water could be addressed in a holistic way at all signs, including supply and demand, quality and access. This integrated approach to water management focused on improving the availability of surface and groundwater. Reverse the depletion of groundwater. Improving water utilization; improving service delivery with respect to the provision of drinking water to all households. Address water quality issues and maintain the Open-Defecation Free (ODF) status achieved through the Swachh Bharat Mission.

On August 15, 2019, Prime Minister Modi launched the ambitious Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) to supply household pipe drinking water to all rural homes by 2024. The budget allocation for the 2020-21 mission was 50,011 chlores. In the short period of 18 months, the proportion of households with faucets connected increased to 7.30 chlores (up 38.15%). “Just 1.5 years ago, of the 1.9 billion rupees of rural families in the country, 350 million rupees were piped to drinking water connections. After the launch of the Jal Jeevan Mission, a new family of about 400 million rupees , Piped the drinking water connection in such a short period of time, “said Prime Minister Modi.

JJM takes a comprehensive approach to water supply, service and delivery, scientifically working on water source sustainability, water supply, reclaimed water treatment and reuse, and operation and maintenance of water services. All villages create a one-time, five-year plan called the Village Action Plan (VAP) that records these details. Funds are dovetailed through the convergence of several rural programs at the village level. The focus is not just on creating infrastructure, but on ensuring the supply of drinking water to all homes.

The global pandemic has revealed that water is the key to public health and productivity. The Prime Minister’s timely call for water-saving actions to all citizens has created enthusiasm among all major stakeholders to empower them to improve the safety of water for all. rice field. As stated in Yajurveda (ancient Vedic text in Sanskrit), the momentum thus generated from the success of various government initiatives is maintained to ensure that water is available and unbroken. is needed. amirthasya aantharithai “(Water is always present and must not be destroyed).

Additional Secretary and Mission Director for the National Jarji Van Mission. This article was co-authored by A. Muralidharan, Deputy Advisor of the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India, and Manoj Kumar Sahoo, Director of the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation. {This article is a copy of the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs magazine “Indian Perspectives”].

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