Holistic approach key to rural water issues:Joshi
Union Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister Dr. C PJoshi has underlined the need for adopting a holistic approach to address the issues of drinking water supply and sanitation in rural areas of the country. He was addressing the valedictory session of the Round Table Conference organised on evolving strategies for Rural Drinking Water Supply Program and Sanitation by the Department of Rural Drinking Water Supply, Ministry of Rural Development at New Delhi.
Dr Joshi said the inadequacy of existing operations and maintenance systems being well known effective steps to strengthen the role of PRIs in planning and monitoring of rural water supply schemes and sanitation must be taken. He said convergence with the NREGS programme for construction of new ponds, recharge structures and rejuvenation of old ponds including de-silting, should be built in to the resource management system. There is urgent need for convergence with other programmes like BRGF, IWMP, irrigation programmes to ensure drinking water security in the rural areas at the house hold level.
Earlier inaugurating the round Table Ms. Agatha Sangma, Minister of State for Rural Development expressed concern on the over withdrawal of ground water resources and the deficiency recharge resulting in rapid lowering of water table. She called upon all the stake holders especially the State Governments in formulating Village, District and State level water security plans. She said States will have to bring in a system that ensures that the PRIs operate and maintain the water supply schemes.
Two presentations were also made before the onset of deliberations in which the back ground of Rural Drinking Water Supply Programme – the highlights of new NRDWP Guidelines and issues related with the coverage of programme, the water quality, Sustainability of sources, system and financial sustainability, the role of PRIs and institutional capacity of PHEDs and keeping pace with rising expectations on rural drinking water supply.
Discussions were also held on three broad areas namely, Improving Service delivery outcomes, Role of Drinking Water sector as a user of water resources and on sanitation, need to look at the local community based models of water management, promote conjunctive use of water, need for working with other ministries in agriculture and watersheds (major consumers of water) and promotion of low cost options in addressing water quality.