Sarpanch changes the face of water management in village under Jal Jeevan Mission

IAS Prelims 2023


‘Once a soldier, always a soldier’. That’s what Paramjeet boot camp training in Indian army has taught him. So, even after retiring from the defence forces, he has taken up the front of fighting off the dearth of clean, potable water in his village. Post retirement, Paramjeet decided to settle in his native village, Kothal Khurd in Mahendragarh, Haryana. The village is a developed place with people equipped with better education and lifestyle owing to the rapid development. But one paradox still existed in the village i.e. the village was still in grip of potable water paucity and poor water management.

Taking a close look at the situation, Paramjeet realized that many houses in the villages had a water pipeline, but there was no regular supply of water. Besides, there was a lot of wastage of potable water as villagers were not sensitized about water management. A number of people had resorted to illegal connections, which further deteriorated the situation.

‘Jal Jeevan Mission’ came as a timely guide which Paramjeet was seeking. Jal Jeevan Mission, the flagship program of Union Government plans to improve the lives of people by providing safe drinking water to every rural home through functional household tap connections (FHTCs) by 2024. He internalized the vision of JJM and the soldier in him was on a mission soon after being elected as village Sarpanch.

An intensive survey was carried out to prepare an action plan with the help of Public Health and Engineering Department. It was found that only 145 houses had legal connections out of 342 households, 115 taps were broken with water overflowing on the streets and in 60% houses no taps were installed.

Under Jal Jeevan Mission, a proper IEC (information, education, communication) plan was drafted to help the village and mobilize the villagers towards effective water management.  It was a result of the campaign that motivated the villagers to install piped water connection and help in their upkeep & maintenance. A training program was organized by Water and Sanitation Support Organization (WSSO), Haryana for all the Gram Panchayats in which VWSC members were taught about water conservation techniques.

Youth of the village were roped in for awareness campaign to sensitize the community, school children and bring about social and behavioral change. A house-to-house survey was carried out to check where wastage of drinking water was rampant. With the community joining in the efforts of the Sarpanch, the face of the village has changed forever. Presently the village has 4 seasonal ponds and 14 soak pits catering to a population of 2,300 in the village. 200 new connections have been provided and 345 connections were installed with 230 new taps and all the leakage points have been repaired.

Kothal Kurd village has built a ground water surface recharge pond. During rainy season, the water from the sky and canal fills the pond which has helped improve the ground water level. The water table has now risen by 40 feet from 290 feet to 250 feet. In January 2020, the Commissioner of Mahendragarh felicitated Kothal Khurd village under Mera Gaon Swachh Gaon for the work carried out under water management. Even while the country was in a lockdown, the work related to water continued and the tap connections are linked with Aadhar card. Paramjeet is a happy man, but for him he is far from winning the war against water mismanagement. His guards are up and boots still on!

The soul of Jal Jeevan Mission is ‘community participation’ starting from the planning of the water supply scheme to regular operation and maintenance for assured service delivery. Every village is taken up as a unit so as they become water secure. Village Action Plan (VAP) for five years is required to be prepared for each village by participation of local community with components of strengthening of local drinking water sources, in-village water supply infrastructure to provide tap water connections, grey water treatment and reuse, and operation & maintenance of water supply systems so as every family gets assured supply of potable water on regular and long-term basis.

Further, it is expected that village community will be able to identify issues and challenges, and also steps to be taken to address those issues and use all available resources available in the village like MNREGA, JJM, SBM (G), 15th FC grants to PRIs, DMDF, MP/ MLA Local Area Development fund, CSR funds, community contribution, etc.

Involvement of the local community in planning, execution and operation and maintenance in villages like Kothal Khurd is an example how the bottom up approach with active involvement of people yield results in terms of delivery of services.

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APS/MG/AS



    Source PIB