Jal Jeevan Mission: Centre to roll out drinking water survey in 10 cities

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Safe drinking water: The Union government on Tuesday launched a pilot drinking water survey under the Jal Jeevan Mission. The survey will study equitable distribution of water, reuse of wastewater and mapping of water bodies in cities in terms of quantity and quality. The pilot project will cover 10 cities — Agra, Badlapur, Bhubaneswar, Churu, Kochi, Madurai, Patiala, Rohtak, Surat and Tumkur.

The survey will be extended to other cities covered by the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), said housing and urban affairs secretary Durga Shanker Mishra who launched the survey.

The survey will collect data on drinking water, waste water management, and non-revenue water, as well as the condition of three water bodies in the city. It will be done through interviews with citizens and municipal officials, on-call interviews, sample collection and testing, as well as field surveys for non-revenue water.

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Only 50% Indians have access to safe drinking water

It is estimated that less than half of Indian population has access to safe drinking water. Millions of people living in 19 states are affected by excess fluoride in drinking water, while 15 million residents of Bengal are affected by excess arsenic, according to the World Health Organisation.

To complicate the matters, two-thirds of the country’s 718 districts are experiencing extreme water depletion. One of the major causes of groundwater depletion in India is excessive drilling in the last few decades. Groundwater extracted from more than 30 million bore wells meets 85% of the drinking water requirements in rural areas and 48% in urban centres.

A technology-based platform will monitor beneficiary response as well as output/ outcome. The government will release the funding in tranches of 20%, 40% and 40%. The third instalment will be released after the study of functional outcomes achieved.

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Huge budget outlay for drinking water supply

The Union Budget 2021-22 has proposed an outlay of Rs 2,87,000 crore for JJM (U). This includes ₹10,000 crore for financial support to AMRUT mission. The government has mandated cities with million plus population to take up PPP projects worth at least 10% of their total project fund allocation.

The Union government will fund 90% of the project cost in Northeastern and hill states. Union territories will enjoy 100% central funding. The central funding will be 50% for cities with less than 1 lakh population. The cities with 1 lakh to 10 lakh population, the union government will fund a third of the project cost.

The Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban) looks to provide water supply to all households through taps in all 4,378 statutory towns in line with the sustainable development goal (SDG) – 6. Another focus area of the mission is to have effective sewerage/septage management in 500 AMRUT cities to make them water secure. The mission has estimated a gap of 2.68 crore in urban tap connections. The other focus areas of the mission are: rejuvenation of water bodies for sustainable fresh water supply and creation of green spaces and sponge cities to reduce flooding.