Safe Drinking Water Is Key to India’s Growth Momentum

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By: Kinjal Desai

Clean drinking water is a global challenge. As a fast-growing economy of the world, India is also beset with this challenge of availability of safe drinking water for it’s burgeon population. Given its vast geographical diversity and transition from a rural to an urban economy where its towns and cities are expanding at a fast rate, provision of portable drinking water to every citizen is a gigantic task.

Coupled with it are contamination and pollution of this basic source of existence. The annual economic burden of the intake of unsafe water in the country is in billions of rupees. The sick citizenry and the drain of resources to cope up with the consequences of intake of insecure water impedes the growth momentum of the country. It is in this socio-economic milieu Shree Narendra Modi led government in 2019 embarked up on a historical project of making available the safe drinking water to every household in the country.

The governments flagship programme under Jal Jeevan Shakti Jal Jeevan Mission, is envisioned to provide safe and adequate drinking water through individual household tap connections to all the households in the country by 2024. But source sustainability elements like recharge and reuse through grey water management, water conservation and rain water harvesting is a must to achieve this Mission. Community approaches are usually developed to make these programmes successful.

The safe drinking water accessibility projects like the Jal Jeevan Mission have the potential of unleashing a chain of economic opportunities and linkages. Our young men and women can obtain training and develop the required skill to align themselves with the demands of construction, plumbing, electrical, water quality management, water treatment, catchment protection.

Women can create Self Help Groups, link them with financial institutions. They can subsequently partner with government in mobilizing the resources and sharing the knowledge to increase affordable access to safe water. Under-privileged sections of the society and the women folk can connect themselves with the projects and empower themselves to reap their windfall.

But as members of a great civilisation which is making its foot print in the comity of nations visible, we are still sticked to some undesirable civic habits, including the non-judicious use of water. We cannot afford to waste the resource on which our government is spending billions of rupees of public money.

India is a land of myriad of rivers, lakes, ponds and fresh water springs. We have a cultural ethos wherein we worship water. Apart from reviving this ethos we need to develop a scientific temper as how to conserve water, prevent its pollution and use it judiciously. This can help us in sustaining this important resource of life, ensure its continuity and thereby keeping up the growth momentum of our nation.

the author is member Jal Jeevan Dhara Foundation


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