[Answered] Discuss the challenges faced in ensuring a consistent and quality water supply under the Jal Jeevan Mission. Suggest measures to address these challenges.

Introduction: Describe Jal Jeevan Mission.

Body: Address challenges & measures associated with the scheme.

Conclusion: Way forward.

Jal Jeevan Mission is the flagship scheme launched by the Ministry of Jal Shakti in 2019. It envisioned providing safe and adequate drinking water through individual household tap connections by 2024 to all households in rural India. It is based on a community approach to water and will include extensive Information, Education, and communication as a key component of the mission.

What are the challenges faced in ensuring quality water supply under the scheme?

  • COVID Pandemic: The pace of the scheme was slowed due to the pandemic which affected the progress of the scheme including the availability of necessary materials like pipes and other construction resources resulting in delays.
  • Inadequate infrastructure: One of the primary challenges is the inadequate infrastructure for water supply in rural areas. Many villages lack the necessary pipelines, storage tanks, and treatment facilities.
  • Poor water quality: States like Kerala, and Bengal face issues with water contamination, posing obstacles in ensuring access to safe drinking water. Climate change, over-extraction, and contamination of water sources can threaten the long-term viability of water sources.
  • Geographical Diversity: India’s rural areas are diverse in terms of geography and terrain, which can make it challenging to implement uniform water supply solutions. Eg, Mahoba in UP relies on lakes and ponds for irrigation, but the region’s rocky sub-surface means that perennial sources of groundwater are few leading to poor implementation of the scheme.

What measures are necessary to address challenges?

  • Training & capacity building: The need is to provide training and capacity-building programs for local community members to operate and maintain water supply infrastructure. This will address the issue of shortage of skilled workers in water management areas.
  • Monitoring & Evaluation: Delivering safe drinking water can be ensured by putting in place effective water quality monitoring systems and countermeasures, such as routine testing and treatment.
  • Behavioral change: Changing traditional water-use habits and promoting responsible water use by launching public awareness campaigns and community education programs.
  • Water Security for Development: India should work on groundwater replenishing methods without polluting the sources. Further, village communities and users/owners should start water budgeting to understand and improve water-use efficiency by changing water usage patterns, shifting to less water-consuming crops, and/ or switching to micro-irrigation, i.e., drip and sprinkler systems.

Conclusion:

The successful implementation of JJM ensures that India achieves its desired SDG 6 by 2030 to achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.

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