Water is essential for human life. Various water sources include rain, streams,rivers, lakes, ponds, open wells, bore wells, tube wells etc. Every household needs water for a number of purposes like cooking, drinking, washing of utensils, cleaning of the house, bathing, washing of clothes, personal sanitation, for house hold animals and watering plants around the house. The challenge is to ensure water of adequate quality in sufficient quantities for each purpose so that the quality of life is improved.
The critical issue in water and sanitation is that of its usage for most purposes leads to further contamination of the remaining water. Extreme care and careful measures are required to avoid this. Thus, most of the sanitation activities are aimed at mitigating the contamination of soil and water sources. As part of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, a lot of activities are undertaken to ensure a clean India. Freedom from open defecation is the goal for all villages of India.
The activities mentioned above conform to the subjects of the Panchayats as per the 11thSchedule of the 73rd amendment of the Constitution of India - Drinking water, Health and sanitation.
For a Swach Village, Gram Panchayats can work to:
||Identification of households without toilets for corrective action.
|Toilet use and maintenance.
|Facilities for solid and liquid waste management.
|Water-use efficiency by rationalizing water use.
|Inclusion of water and sanitation issues in Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP).
|Compliance with environmental safeguards for all GPDP activities.
|Toilets for all households and institutions.
|Modern agriculture and water-use technologies to conserve water.
|Water-use rationalization by selecting appropriate cropping patterns.
||Local environmental safeguard measures.
|Surveillance of water bodies.
|Safeguards for water bodies.
|PLAN AND IMPLEMENT
||Environmental management framework.
|Water supply schemes.
||Appropriate irrigation methods
|Regulation of water extraction based on demand yield match.
|Participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management .
How do we begin to plan for eradicating poverty in the Gram Panchayat?
What can our Gram Panchayat focus on while Planning for water and sanitation?
- Ensuring sufficient good quality water for basic household purposes for all households throughout the year irrespective of changes in weather and climate.
- Safeguarding the quality of available water sources by avoiding contamination, adopting safe sanitation measures and processing contaminated water.
- Educating communities about safe usage of water, prevent of contamination and about hygienic habits.
- Ensuring safe sanitation in all households, public offices, institutions and places along with ensuring comfortable girl/women friendly designs.
- Ensuring a zero-waste regime for all households and public institutions.
How do we set targets to achieve the goals?
If these are our goals, what are the specific things we should plan to achieve and by when? Can our Gram Panchayat plan for the following?
What can a Gram Panchayat Do?
- Assess the water needs, sources, schemes, solid and liquid waste being generated – (biodegradable and non-biodegradable) through participatory surveys so that the need for water supply, sanitation,environmental sanitation and waste management facilities can be ascertained.
- Set the water and sanitation goals and targets for the Gram Panchayat.
- Select appropriate technology choice for water supply and sanitation in the Gram Panchayat based on participatory assessment.
- Ensure adequate, functional clean toilet facilities in schools (separately for boys and girls) and anganwadis.
- Ensuring maintenance of toilets of public places including those in markets and Gram Panchayat premises.
- Identify appropriate schemes, state/national/international agencies, their programmes and schemes, non-Governmental agencies and companies which can support availability of water supply, source sustainability,reduction for source contamination, sanitation and waste management programmes.
- Liaise with respective agencies for ensuring adequate water supply,cleanliness and drinking water and sanitation facilities.
- Form people’s committees and building their capacity for managing the assets existing and being created.
- Educate all households on the key aspects of usage and management of water and sanitation assets.
- Undertake water budgeting annually and sharing information with villagers for appropriate crop selection.
- Monitor and problem solve during programme implementation and after.
Resources to look for
|Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme (ARWSP)
|Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
|Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP)
|National Rural Drinking Water Programme
|Other relevant centrally and state sponsored programmes and schemes
People to support
Water supply scheme operators, masons, registrants of MGNREGS, Swachhta doots, health workers, teachers, NGOs.
Here is an example
Possible steps to be followed if the Gram Panchayat decides for total water supply to all households.
- Organize the Gram Sabha, inform and discuss about the need for total water supply.
- Situational analysis as part of Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP) process.
- Include the project in GPDP.
- Set the timeline by which total water supply will be achieved.
- Organise a participatory survey to delineate uncovered area, assess the water needs, number, quality and quantity of existing water sources,exploring possible sources, possible contamination sources etc.
- Assess the existing water supply schemes for its coverage, output, quality,timings, source capacity, sustainability.
- Map the required intervention measures to assure the sustainability of water sources like soil conservation measures, water recharging measures etc.
- Match the requirement of water with the available sources for different seasons and climate change scenario to identify the gaps and developing adequate measures to fill the gaps.
- Choose appropriate technology comprising of various sources, water pumping devices, energy sources so that adequate water is assured for each house hold.
- For example, well designed rainwater system for concurrent usage as well as for dry spells, shallow open wells during the monsoon, deep bore wells during peak summer or acute draught etc. in conjunction with the water from surface sources like streams, rivers, lakes, ponds,abandoned quarries wherever it is required.
- Water from these sources may be filtered, treated at scheme level and can be pumped using gravity, wind, solar, electricity.
- Estimate the costs, projectising water supply, seek the support of the relevant officers/agencies.
- Liaise with the identified agencies and ensure the timely execution of the programme by appropriate interventions.
- Form user groups, hand holding and training them for implementing,operating and maintaining these schemes.
- Set up a monitoring system
How is this exercise linked to Sustainable Development Goals?
Sustainable Development Goal 6 - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
The Universal Targets
- By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.
- Provide toilets and toilet use in all the houses, institutions and public places with By 2030 women and girl friendly considerations;facilitate waste management actions and ensure hygiene education.
- By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating,dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials,halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally.
- By 2030, substantially increase water use efficiency in all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity.
Now look at the goals and targets set by your Gram Panchayat – you are contributing to the Global goal and targets to ensure access to safe, affordable,reliable, sustainable drinking water and safe sanitation for all!
Source : Handbook on Sustainable Development Goals and Gram Panchayats