Rural women to help monitor tap water quality

Rural women to help monitor tap water quality

The government will put up inexpensive water-quality testing infrastructure accessible to every village to achieve the mission, said Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Shekhawat in his keynote address at an Environment Conclave.

The Centre will train five women from each village to test the quality of water as part of the ambitious Jal Jeevan mission, which aims to provide safe and adequate drinking water through individual tap connections by 2024 to all households in rural India, Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Shekhawat said.

The government will put up inexpensive water-quality testing infrastructure accessible to every village to achieve the mission, the minister said in his keynote address at the Hindustan Times Environment Conclave.

“When we need to tests our blood, we all know where to go. But we have problems to test the water we drink. We will set up laboratories that will provide water quality tests for nominal charges,” the minister said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in September 2019 that the government plans to spend 3.5 lakh crore over the next five years on the Jal Jeevan Mission, which aims to provide piped water (Har Ghar Jal) to all rural households by 2024.

Piped drinking water to rural households is a critical component for achieving universal access to safe drinking water in a country where, in 2015, 163 million Indians lacked access to clean water, the highest for any country, according to the non-government organisation WaterAid.

A key benchmark is that piped water supply at 55 litre per capita per day (LPCD), under normal conditions, should be available within household premises or at a distance of not more than 100 metres from the house.

Shekhawat said the government used the post-Covid-19 lockdown period last year to ramp up infrastructure and logistics to be able to adhere to its targets.

“When we started off, only 17% of households had piped drinking water. During the pandemic-lockdown period, we managed to provide piped drinking water to 3.3 crore {33 million} households,” the minister said.

Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat
Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat

The minister said India aspires to be a global leader in achieving a sustainable environment.

“The key thing I keep saying is that we should not lead our lives as consumers of natural resources but as custodians so that we can leave a better world than the one we were born into for the sake of our coming generation,” Shekhawat said.

The minister said the path before the government was full of challenges. There are 52,000 places where water is toxic because of excessive fluoride and arsenic content.

Water in many regions of Punjab and Rajasthan is hazardous because of overuse of pesticides, he said.

“That’s when our PM Narendra Modi decided to reach safe water to every household,” the minister said.

Highlighting the key programmes aimed at making water safe and to conserve water, the minister said the Atal Bhujal mission was dedicated to recharging ground water, while the Jal Shakti campaign was devoted to creating public awareness. The Dam Rehabilitation Yojana has been launched to run fitness checks on hundreds of dams, critical for managing water.

“The resolve of the Prime Minister to reach drinking water to everyone is the first such resolve in the world,” the minister said.

“One water connection to a household makes a big difference; you can’t imagine. It bring confidence to the family,” Shekhawat said.

Because of a large public participation programme like “Catch the rain where it falls”, water conservation had become a mass movement. The minister cited the example of Vadodara in Gujarat where residents were able to save 100 million gallons of water.

Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by Water Today staff and is generated from news feeds. Source: Hindustan Times

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