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Drinking Water Management

Community managed drinking water supply programm, Gujarat

Place of implementation : Gujarat
Implementing agency : Water and Sanitation Management Organization (WASMO)


A community managed, demand-driven, decentralized approach for rural water supply program was implemented at village level as an initiative to provide adequate and safe water supply to village community. It then brings together the community through Pani Samitis, NGOs, and International organizations like UNICEF, WASH and World Bank along with technical assistance from WASMO to ensure equitable availability of safe drinking water to the community. The villages covered by this drive have been connected to the piped water supply network, overhead storage tanks have been built in villages and drinking water supply is being administered with community participation.


The initiative serves as a sustainable system of providing clean water to rural households and has established a financially sustainable model for water provision. Around 76.84% of rural households in Gujarat have been covered under this intervention as of 2014. Significant improvement has been observed in the community, especially for girls, to continue their education instead of fetching water from long distances, reduction in water borne diseases, overall improvement in health status and better living standards of the community. Pani Samitis have been formed in 18,185 out of 18,478 villages in the State, apart from formation of water quality teams in 16,860 villages, distribution of field test kits in 14,216 villages and fixing and collection of water tariffs by 7,131 villages.


  • Collaboration with communities and use of maximum use of existing infrastructure ensures adequate, reg ular, safe, sustainable and convenient water supply at household level.
  • Engagement of communities in the implementation process reduces the need for government support, makes the program self - reliant and ensures social sustainability.

    Jal Dal-Children’s Institutions for Water Management, Rajasthan Mazhapolima Initiative-Thrissur District, Kerala Adaptive Water Management in Mandli, Rajasthan Meeting Water Requirements through Innovation, Gujarat

For more information, visit http://www.wasmo.org/showpage.aspx?contentid=72

Jal Dal-Children’s Institutions for Water Management

Place of implementation : Barmer
Implementing agency : Jal Bhagirathi Foundation, Rajasthan


Due to lack of availability of drinking water, Government School in Godawas experienced poor enrolment and attendance rates. Children had to help their mothers fetch water from distant places and were at the suffering end of the problem of water access. The Gram Panchayat of the village constructed a 40,000 liter tank in school, enlargement of village pond and created a Jal Sabha in the village. To ensure maintenance of the newly constructed tank, a student body of 10 members called Jal Dal was constituted. The Jal Dal took the responsibility of cleaning the roof and ensuring clean water in the tank. They were also responsible for cleaning of silt chambers and meticulous functioning of the hand pump. The school children were also involved in environment conservation drives and in disseminating information about water stress to the villagers. This is an ongoing practice which is passed down to the younger students to maintain the tank. The students have also started a piggy bank in which students from higher classes contribute one rupee per month for maintenance of tank and purchased of water during times of scanty rainfall.


This intervention has positively impacted education in the region and has yielded a growth in literacy rate. There has been a noticeable fall in the school dropout rate and attendance has become more consistent. Incidences of water borne diseases have reduced, clean water is available throughout the year for the village. The village has become self-reliant and is now no longer dependent on pricey water tanks run by mafia to fulfil their water requirements.


  • The Jal Dals provide an excellent example of volunteerism and community service, enabling children to learn about water management practices through hands on experiences
  • It also puts forward an instance of uniting the school administration and students to work together to ensure that every child gets access to clean water and right to education.
  • Community driven initiatives are better maintained and demonstrate longevity in terms of resource management.

For more information, visit http://www.undp.org/content/dam/india/docs/good_practices_in_water_security_ideas_for_praxis.pdf

Mazhapolima Initiative - Thrissur District, Kerala

Place of implementation : Thiruvilwamala Gram Panchayat
Implementing agency: Thrissur District Administration, Kerala


Rural Kerala fulfils its drinking water needs by using water collected in open dug wells. But increase in dependency on groundwater has led to drying up of these wells and has deteriorated the quality of existing water sources. In this context, the Thrissur District Administration along with various NGOs working in Kerala launched an artificial groundwater recharge program called Mazhapolima, meaning bounty of rain. In the rainy season, the rooftop rain water is led through pipes with sand filter at the end, to open dug well to replenish the aquifer. Under this initiative, employees of 100 NGOs received training to install roof water harvesting systems. The intervention gives subsidies to poorer households especially in over-exploited groundwater blocks and in areas of high salinity. When multiple wells are recharged in that area, the groundwater table goes back up. When the water table is low, the water is retained in wells for a while, and then pushed into the ground.


Abundance of drinking water free from nitrates, iron content and reduced salinity is now available for the community. 20,000 well recharging units were established and over 1,00,000 people have benefitted. It also provides a replicable model of water conservation which can be emulated anywhere. Money which was earlier spent on obtaining drinking water through tankers is now spent on building self-sustaining rooftop rainwater harvesting structures.


  • Localized and affordable efforts help in implementation of a technique which can even be employed by a layman
  • Community based consciousness will make great stride s in confronting water stress in the country

For more information, visit http://mazhapolima.org/

Adaptive Water Management in Mandli, Rajasthan

Place of implementation : Mandli Village, Rajasthan
Implementing agency : Jal Bhagirathi Foundation and Community members


The villagers of Mandli, inspired by success of Jal Sabha’s in Rajasthan came together and formed a Jal Sabha with active women participation in their own village to deal with crisis of drinking water. The members undertook a participatory planning exercise and decided to increase the area of pond which would allow it to capacitate more water. The main source of water for the village was a pond called the Gawai Talaab which has the capacity of 2,869 cubic meter. Owing it to its small catchment area and improper construction, the pond would become dry and women had to collect water from afar. The government was supplying limited water which was very saline and it was causing health hazards to the community. The members of the Jal Sabha then undertook a participatory planning exercise and generated funds through contribution of every household in the village. The money was then pooled into a Jal Kosh and to ensure maximum accountability. Once the pond was sufficiently enlarged, the villagers decided to help neighboring village communities to obtain water from it using a ‘coupon system’ at a charge of INR 100 for a 4000 liter tanker. This money is used for regular maintenance of the catchment by renovation of water channels and tree plantation to improve water inflow. The pond has since been able to provide water even in drought years and has greatly solved drinking water crisis in the area.


Availability of sweet drinking water round-the-year and water security ensured even in a severe drought year. Expansion of capacity of Gawai Talab from 2869 to 5218 CuM and that of Narsingh Nasa from 2308 to 26601 CuM. Further, 13 villages benefited through this intervention by sourcing water through tankers. The Jal Sabha has achieved a sustainable financial source for regular maintenance of the talaab through coupon system. The village, has been able to adapt to changing climatic patterns and recurring droughts.


  • Investment in building robust and sustainable community systems and institutions positively impact round the year availability of water
  • It also exhibits how an external agency with cooperation of the local community of the local community can facilitate revival of a sustainable water management system
  • Emergence of community participation along with enhancement of leadership skills and self - confidence.

For more information, visit http://www.undp.org/content/dam/india/docs/good_practices_in_water_security_ideas_for_praxis.pdf

Source : NITI Aayog

Last Modified : 7/7/2022

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