•  Once India’s villages had rich sources of water and the villages were the hubs of the traditional knowledge of water conservation. Appropriate technologies and innovations can play a pivotal role in making available safe and clean drinking water to the rural population in our country.
  •  If technologies and innovations are equipped with the insight of traditional knowledge system of India, then drinking water supply in rural parts of the country can be realized. A rational approach is also essential to achieve this goal. Availability of Safe and Clean Water
  •  According to the World Health Organization, 84 per cent of Indians who don't have access to clean water and sanitation live n rural communities. As per the review of the Millennium Development Goals done by the United Nations, out of the 35 Indian states, only 7 have achieved full coverage of having a safe water source for their villages. Ground water in most cities and around 19000 villages contains fluorides, nitrates, pesticides, etc. beyond the permissible limits.
  • Drinking water quality thus remains an issue and this reflects the fact that approximately 21 per cent of communicable diseases are waterborne and 75 per cent of water related deaths are of infants under five years.
  •  India has the world's largest rural drinking water scheme serving some 1.6 million dwellings spread across 15 different environmental regions and 74.2 crore people. In 1999, steps were launched to institutionalize the Community's participation in the implementation of rural potable water schemes through the sector reform project, as part of the National Water Policy, in order to ensure the sustainability of systems. Water Quality: A Major Concern
  •  Water quality has emerged as a major issue in the rural drinking water supply. The Government has launched the National Rural Drinking Water Quality Monitoring and Surveillance Programme, which institutionalized the community participation of district and state-level laboratories for the monitoring of drinking water sources at the grassroot level through Gram Panchayats. The States implement systems for drinking water supply schemes.
  •  Many public authorities are involved in the supply of rural water Central Water Commission (CWC) regulates the use of water to irrigate surface waters, the industry and potable water. It also mediates in disputes related to the inter-state water allocation. Central Groundwater Board (CGWB) monitors groundwater levels and rates of depletion and the production of water resource inventories and maps. National Rivers Conservation Directorate (NRCD) oversees the implementation of Action Plans to improve the quality of the rivers in India. Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) promotes basin-wide pollution control strategies. It liaises with State Water Pollution Control Boards for laying down standards for the treatment of sewage and effluents. The Board is also responsible for action in the case of non-compliance by agencies.
  •  The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, is the nodal ministry for the overall policy, planning funding and co-ordination of the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) or rural drinking water supply in the country. Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) deals with planning, formulation, monitoring and reviewing of various watersheds based developmental project activities. Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI) performs the collection compilation, analysis and dissemination of the information on health conditions in the country, Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is responsible for the drafting of standards pertaining to drinking water quality. Technology interventions for Drinking Water
  • The Technology must be simple enough to undertake the task of operation and maintenance smoothly by the rural community itself. The design of hand pumps is very important for better performance efficiency. The substantial improvement in hand pump technology has already taken place, but there is a scope for further improvement.
  • Water treatment plants use technology that is both chemical and biologically safe and attractive in terms of colour, smell and taste. Below are some of the prevalent technologies for water purification and treatment.
  •  Capacitive deionization (CDI), is a technology in which a separator channel (with a porous electrode on each side) removes ions from water;
  •  Ozonation technique is based on the ozone infusion into the water for chemical water treatment;
  •  In Ultraviolets technology, ultraviolet light is used to kilt micro-organisms of water;
  •  A large majority of contaminants are removed m reverse osmosis (RO) technology through a semi-permeable membrane;
  •  TERAFIL is a burnt red clay porous media used for filtration & treatment of raw water into dean drinking water. This technology has been developed by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR);
  •  OS-Community scale Arsenic Filter is an organic arsenic filter which is developed by the IIT Kharagpur;
  •  Filtration methods that may include rapid/slow sand filters which remove rust, silt, dust and other particulate matter from water and;
  •  Solar water purification systems.

Innovation: Key to Resolve Drinking Water Crisis:

  •  One of the most serious issues the world now faces is the global water situation, which has received increased public attention during the past decade. To address the above mentioned problems related to drinking water, the United Nations included among the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) the objective of halving the number of people lacking adequate access to clean water by 2015. Introduction of Sustainable Development Goals (5DG) is the MDGs next edition. In SDG, 17 Global Goals have been identified. Clean water and sanitation is the sixth goal of SDGs. Under SDG, it is targeted to achieve the following global goals by 2030:
  •  Universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all;
  •  Access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations;
  •  Improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing the release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally.

Social and Technological Innovations

  •  In the past decades, many attempts have been made to improve access to drinking water and sanitation facilities in rural areas of developing countries including India. The lessons learned from these attempts are that the improvements should be appropriate. It means they should be suitable as per the local needs, culture and conditions and that to ensure quality and sustainable access.
  •  Many people fail to realize that technological innovation means not only the production of self sustained, state-of-the-art devices but also the creation of simple, affordable solutions that can be used efficiently in rural communities. In order to provide clean water in developing countries, the technology must be efficient, affordable and simple to operate and maintain. In recent years, a great deal of research has been conducted to identify novel technologies for removing arsenic, particularly low cost as well as low tech systems that could be applied in rural areas. Communication and Educational Innovation
  •  Internet is the biggest source of information and sensitization in today's world. The past decade has seen a rapid development of webbased services like Wikipedia, YouTube, Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, Instagram etc. The internet has also inspired innovations in the areas of water and sanitation, which have long needed fundamental changes in terms of available information and communication technology.
  •  With the internet and other new technological tools, simple, appropriate technologies for the supply of water can be implemented within weeks rather than years. On the other hand, progress can be reported using text messages, digital cameras and short movies rather than time consuming reports.

Way forward

  •  There are enormous global efforts underway to revamp the water sector through technology and innovation intervention. The increasing knowledge accumulated and shared worldwide, including India, will continue to expand these efforts. More and more organizations realize that it is essential to improve the water quality, health, hygiene and environment of local communities because only healthy people can act as a catalyst for further development.
  •  Hence, it is our collective responsibility to think and act logically to save water. At the same time, we should support the government as well as non-government agencies that are developing technological and innovative interventions to make available safe drinking water.

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