Piped water supply

One of the basic requirements of human life is reasonable availability of fresh, pure and safe drinking water. Jammu and Kashmir is well placed in respect of availability of water both for drinking and other purposes as compared to other states but due to host of reasons, availability through underground pipes for all households is still far from being a reality. Otherwise also, a culture of treating water as a precious but scarce source of nature is quite far away which speaks both for wanton wastage of water as also polluting almost all sources from where water is available. Administrative apathy and the alibi of shortage of funds have made the availability of water on an even and compatible levels universally in all the areas of the state a near distant dream. Not to speak of villages and far flung rural areas, even in the cities the position is no better. In Jammu city, most of the areas get water supply once in two or three days and that too, for an hour or so only.
At the national level, Modi Government realising the importance of drinking water and the future challenges, took an innovative step towards forming in May 2019 a new and separate ministry known as Ministry of Jal Shakti by merging two ministries-Ministry of Water Resources River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation and Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. Unified Jal Shakti Ministry is aimed at providing clean drinking water as well as fight India’s water woes. The Central Government, in order to infuse a new spirit in the said ministry and make it responsive to the growing water needs of the public, interacts with the states and very recently, a State Ministers’ conference on Jal Jeevan Mission was held at New Delhi. From Jammu and Kashmir, Advisor to the Governor K K Sharma attended the meeting.
Various provisions and details of prestigious programmes of ‘HarGharNal Say Jal’, ‘Swachh Bharat Mission and Saubhagya Scheme were discussed and Central Government’s initiatives were appreciated towards formulating a new and non conventional approach towards providing safe drinking water to the people. It was amply made known in the said conference that Governor’s administration in Jammu and Kashmir had already started working towards the implementation of the scheme of 100 per cent piped water supply to all households by the end of 2022. While this is a welcome step, details of the scheme, various work projects and the timelines are required to be shared with the public to precisely get a sense of the status of the entire programme.
The State Administration must adequately be knowing that most of the areas in the cities are already having the piped facilities but in rural and hilly areas a lot of work was needed to be undertaken in order to make the target of 100 percent piped supply a reality. We still haplessly see women and children treading long distances to get a pitcher of water from usually one or two sources and their woes get accentuated during rains or cold winter days. We agree that even in rural areas 30 per cent households are connected through piped water supply under the new scheme of the Central Government but the question is as to whether there is water supply also or not and what about other areas which are yet to see the dream of the piped water supply becoming a reality.
There are associated problems in respect of supplying drinking water. The underground water table was fast depleting which was causing concern and over ground sources were under strains of pollution and non tapping which required vast public awareness and a committed institutional mechanism for setting up of more filtration plants. Ladakh, where harsh cold desert conditions prevail, require advanced technical and innovative initiatives to tackle the drinking water problem. Last but not the least, there is no emphasis on providing quality drinking water for which proper long term planning was required.


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