India pledges piped water to every rural home within 5 years

India is turning its back on the world’s most popular handpump to which it lent its name (India Mark II) and is going full bore for piped water supplies.

The Times of India report : “With more than 80% rural households yet to get piped water supply, the government on Tuesday announced to roll out a new mission to ensure “Nal se Jal”  ater from the tap) for each house in villages in the next five years as promised in BJP’s election manifesto.” 

This promises to be the most ambitious rural water supply programme in the world and this important transition from point source to piped will be watched with interest by many other countries around the world.

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4 thoughts on “India pledges piped water to every rural home within 5 years

  1. Whereas it’s great to see that water is coming up high on the political agenda of this government, it’s also sobering that after so much talk about “Leave No-One Behind”, this plan will mean that a lot of resources (no price tag or strategy to roll this out have been communicated so far, but that’s going to be interesting to watch…) will be spent on people living in densely populated areas, where piped networks are feasible. Many of these people have access to at least basic level of water services – but at the same time some 8 million people (around 1% of the rural population) still rely on surface water. It is very unlikely that piped networks will reach these people – exactly because they live in areas of low population densities.

    In several Western countries, considerable parts of rural population are not served by piped networks, including the USA (44 million people in 2010: http://water.usgs.gov/watuse/wudo.html), Ireland (10% of the population) and Australia (5% of the population). Thus, why should India push for full coverage with piped networks, which in practice means that the ones using surface water (and in general, people living in areas of low population density) will continue to be left behind? You may argue that it’s just 1% of the population, but the fact is that their urban counterparts have been receiving direct or indirect subsidies for water supplies already, and the current plan will make this subsidy gap even bigger…

    Interestingly, in sanitation India has shown quite impressive progress with a government-led initiative, but that approach was focusing on lifting the furthest behind (the ones practicing open defecation) to at least basic level (mostly by constructing their own pit latrines). Probably, a push for universal coverage with sewered sanitation system would not have achieved similarly impressive results – but that is exactly what is being proposed now for water. From my point of view, this looks like a massive waste of resources, and like an ill-informed policy. But we are still early in the game, and I am hopeful that the government can adjust their plan to really focus on the ones left behind – not only people using surface water, but also people using other unimproved sources.

    Best regards
    Matthias

  2. Water supply will be ensured given in rural- villages, wherever water is available.
    When it is difficult to connect each homes, a set of homes in one line would get water on a stand pipe and valve.
    Where Electric-power is deficient, water will be drwan from local wells by hand pump viz India Mk III, and given.
    Quality is also ensured and villagers made aware on simple programs.
    C A T S – is used. 4 words stand for
    C clean and clear, A alkaline pH 7 -7.5, T tasty salts& minerals, S sterile.

    Well wishes for Jal Shakti.
    Prof Ajit Seshadri. Vels University. Chennai. India.

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