Need to build community ownership to resolve water crisis: Shekhawat


New Delhi: Union Minister of Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said that the Jal Jeevan Mission is a one-time opportunity to address water scarcity in the country and emphasised the need to build “community ownership” to ensure long-term sustainability of water supply.
The Minister was speaking while chairing the regional conference of states and UTs on the Jal Jeevan Mission and Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) on Friday in Jaipur, with 11 implementing states and union territories.
He also asked the delegations to instil a sense of ownership in the local community through “Pani Samitis” from the planning stage and not after the completion of schemes.
When the Jal Jeevan Mission was launched on August 15th, 2019, only 16.75% of rural households had access to tap water connections. Despite disruptions caused by the pandemic in the last two and a half years, we have managed to provide more than 6.16 million tap water connections and about 9.40 million (49%) of households in the villages are benefiting from clean drinking water, “he said.
In the Union Budget 2022-23, the Centre has increased the fund allocation for the Jal Jeevan Mission from 45,000 crore in 2021-22 to Rs. 60,000 crore in 2022-23. 
According to the data, Goa, D & D, and DNH have already become “Har Ghar Jal”, Punjab is at 99%, and Himachal Pradesh at 93%, and the remaining are at different stages of implementation.
To meet the water scarcity, the government recently launched a campaign called “Catch The Rain” with the tagline “Catch the rain, where it falls, when it falls”.
The campaign aims to nudge the states and stakeholders to create appropriate rainwater harvesting structures (RWHS) suitable to the climatic conditions and sub-soil strata before the monsoon.
Under this campaign, drives to make check dams, water harvesting pits, rooftop RWHS, removal of encroachments, de-silting of tanks to increase their storage capacity, removal of obstructions in the channels which bring water to them from the catchment areas, etc.
To facilitate these activities, states have been requested to open “rain centres” in each district in collectorates, municipalities, or GP offices.
Only 3% of the world’s water is fresh water, and two-thirds of that is tucked away in frozen glaciers or otherwise unavailable for our use.
According to WWF, around 1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to water, and a total of 2.7 billion find water scarce for at least one month of the year.
Inadequate sanitation is also a problem for 2.4 billion people—they are exposed to diseases, such as cholera and typhoid fever, and other water-borne illnesses.
Two million people, mostly children, die each year from diarrheal diseases alone.
As far consumption rate, by 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population may face water shortages and ecosystems around the world will suffer even more.


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