The Gist of Kurukshetra: August 2015
Innovative Government Initiatives For Rural Drinking Water Supply
Drinking water is water safe enough to be consumed by humans
or used with low risk of immediate or long term harm. Over large parts of the
world, humans have inadequate access to potable water and use sources
contaminated with disease vector, pathogens or unacceptable levels of toxins or
suspended solids. Drinking or using such water in food preparation leads to
widespread acute and chronic illnesses and is a major cause of death and
suffering worldwide in many different countries. According to WHO in 2010, 89
per cent of the world’s population, or 6.1 billion people, used improved
drinking water sources, exceeding the MDG target (88 per cent); 92 per cent are
expected to have access in 2015. In 2015 the WHO/ UNICEF JMP projects that 605
million will still not have access. To provide safe drinking water; Government
has taken some urgent actions, some new projects and programmes related to
drinking water have been initiated.
The National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) is a
flagship programme of the Government and a component of the Bharat Nirman with
the objective of ensuring provision of safe and adequate drinking water supply
through hand pumps, piped water supply etc. to all rural areas, households and
persons. The NRDWP (formerly’ Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme ARWSP)
subsumes the programme of ARWSP, Swajaldhara and National Rural Water Quality
Monitoring & Surveillance. Under this Centrally Sponsored Scheme financial
assistance is provided to States/ UTs for coverage of all rural habitations,
including quality affected habitations with safe drinking water provision;
Sustainability measures for drinking water sources and systems; Operation and
Maintenance of existing rural water supply schemes, Support activities like IEC,
training, MIS and Computerization etc. and Water Quality Monitoring and
Surveillance. A provision of Rs. 11,000 crore has been made for NRDWP and the
rural water supply sector including Rs. 1100 crore earmarked for North-Eastern
Region and Sikkim. Further, 22 per cent of the total allocation i.e. 2420 crore
and 10 per cent amounting to Rs. 1100 crore is earmarked for meeting expenditure
on Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan and Tribal Sub-Plan respectively for the year
2014-15. [B] Budget 2015-16: Many of our drinking water sources have excess
impurities like f1ouride, arsenic and manmade contaminations due to untreated
sewage, industrial effluents and leaching of pesticides and fertilizers. Total
Rs. 3,600 crore has been earmarked under National Rural Drinking Water Programme
for providing safe drinking water in approximately 20,000 habitations affected
with arsenic, fluoride, heavy/toxic elements, pesticides/ fertilizers through
community water purification plants in next 3 years.
Udates in National Rural Drinking Water Programme [2014-15]:
Provision of safe drinking water is a basic necessity. Rural drinking water
supply is a State subject and has been included in the Eleventh Schedule of the
Constitution of India, among the subjects that may be entrusted to Panchayats by
the States. The recent updates in NRDW programme are given as follows: [i] Safe
Drinking Water : In year 2015 government through the National Rural
Drinking Water Programme has adopted the goal to provide every person in rural
areas with adequate safe water for drinking, cooking and other domestic basic
needs on sustainable basis. In next eight years, 90 per cent of the household
will be covered and provided with safe drinking water. [ii] Domestic water tap
connections [2014-15]: The objective of the whole programme is to provide pure
drinking water to rural people to protect them from water borne diseases. To
fulfill this objective one major step from the Government side is to provide
domestic tap connections in all the households. [iii]potable drinking water
supply Government has decided that [i] by 2022, at least 90 per cent of
households are provided with piped water supply; at least 80 per cent of rural
households have piped water supply with a household connections; less than 10
per cent use public taps and less than 10 per cent use hand pumps or other safe
adequate private water sources at present: [ii] provide enabling support and
environment for all Panchayati Raj Institutions and local communities to manage
100 per cent of rural drinking water systems.
[B] Drinking Water and Sanitation Awareness Week [16-22 March
2015]: In view of low awareness in villages on use of toilets and safe handling
of water, Government has decided to launch a “National Rural Drinking Water and
Sanitation Awareness Week” across all states. The week from March 16 to March
22, was observed as World Water Day, to “accelerate awareness in villages”
across the country on sanitation and rural drinking water. The focus of the
campaign was to “create total awareness on Swachh Bharat Mission to keep
villages clean, build and use of toilets, importance of hand washing with soap,
safe handling and storage of drinking water and water conservation. The States
also conducted a week long ‘state elocution contest’ on subjects like use of
toilet, clean India mission and water conservation.
Future Plans of Government: Jal Suddhi: A major plan to
provide clean and purified water to over 21,000 habitations will be launch in
the next three years. At least 17,000 such habitations get contaminated water
with dangerous pollutants including uranium, fluoride, iron, nitrate, toxic
elements, pesticides and fertilizers. To be named as “ Jal Shuddhi” the
programme will benefit around 47 million people in several districts of states
including Punjab, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka where water
contamination is acute. According to sources, under this scheme community water
purifiers will be installed in villages affected due to contaminated water
Innovative Technologies for Rural Drinking water : An Exhibition cum
workshop was organized by the Ministry of Drinking Water Supply in Janurary,
2015. Many exhibitors presented innovative rural drinking water technologies in
this workshop. Some innovative technologies were:
 PurAIl online water purification device: PurAIl solutions
are online NON-ELECTRIC water purification solutions which work on a simple
chemical based technology. It has an online Chlorine CPU with replaceable water
purification cartridges, for continuous operation. PurAIl solutions use NSF
approved and certified chemical (NSF- National Science Foundation, USA) for
drinking water, which delivers an appropriate dose of chlorine and controls
disease-causing organisms in water systems.
 Capacitive Deionization Technology (CDI) using carbon
aerogel: Untreated water flows through an unrestricted capacitor type module
consisting of numerous pairs of high-surface area carbon aerogel electrodes.
Carbon aerogel contains a very high specific surface area (400-1100 m2/g BET)
and a very low electrical resistivity (< 40 m-ohm-cm). The positive and negative
electrodes respectively adsorb anions and cations in the water solution upon
polarization of each electrode pair by a direct current (DC) power source.
Water on the Wheels-Jal Doot: This is integration of
following three technologies. [a] UF-Membrane based surface water filtration
technique. [b] PTO shaft drive to meet the power required where no power is
available. [c] Multistage filtration - sand filtration > water softener > silver
impregnated coconut shell carbon > micro filtration > ultra filtration. Solar
Operated/Stand Alone Ground Water Treatment Plant: This system also works using
solar Energy. [a] Suitable for treatment of Arsenic, Fluoride and TDS . [b]
Arsenic is removed using disposable granulated media. [c) Fluoride is removed by
using regenerative / disposable type Granular Media. [d]
Surface water is treated with micro and ultra filtration. [e] Saline water is
treated with RO system.
 Jal-TARA Water Filter: Sand filters commonly used for
water treatment are of two types a slow sand (2 to 6m3/ m2/day) and rapid sand
(100 to 150 m3/m2/day) filters. Though there are many other ways of treating
water, no single process is as effective in simultaneously improving
microbiological and physio-chemical qualities of water as slow sand filtration.
It is for this reason that slow sand filters are very much favoured in
developing countries where land and labour constraints are not pressing, and the
ease of operation, maintenance and cost are most important. Jal-TARA filter has
been developed by Development Alternatives, New Delhi.
 Aqua+ and Antenne WATA Technology: The current standard
of sodium hypochlorited as per IS: 11673 : 1993 reaffirmed 2003 prescribe
strength to be at 4% concentration. The beauty of Aqua+ is that it treats the
water and makes it safe for drinking even at a lower concentration of 0.6%.
Therefore a new grade need to be added to the existing BIS standard to encourage
electro-chlorinator based sodium hypochlorited production.
 Supremus Aqua standalone water purification system :
Supremus Aqua is stand alone water treatement systems having capacity of 1000
LPH/600 LPH and based on low pressure Ultra-Filtration technology conforming to
WHO requiurements for safe drinking water. It operates without electricity and
only requires daily back wash as part of its maintenance. There is no
replacement of parts of its maintenance. There is no replacement of parts and no
wastage of water. Low pressure ultra-filtration membrane technology is highly
effective in removing all non dissolved elements in feed waters. The system
removes Pathogens. Total Suspended Solids and Turbidity from water.
 Disinfection by Electro chlorination: The process is
based on the partial electrolysis of sodium chloride (brine solution). The
direct current is aaplied on and brine is dissociated into Na+and CL-ions,
causing chemical reactions. The chlorine and hydroxide ions react to form
hypochlorited. By adding sodium-hypochlorite to water, hypochlorus acid (HOCL)
 Water Treatment using nanofiltration (NF) membrane : This
technology simplifies RO treatment by mitigating the effects of membrane
fouling. It users nano filtration (NF) membrane which is selective from of an RO
membrane. NF rejects bacteria and viruses completely similar to RO, but it
selectively removes hardness salts to a greater extent than NaCl salt and
therefore requires far less pressure than RO.
 Iron Removal by using Iron Specific Resin (INDION ISR) :
INDION ISR iron removal technology which is far superior to the existing
technologies finds application in hand pump, tube well and tap as source of
water. As compared to the existing technologies, this technology is robust and
can handle greater iron load per cubic feet.
Need for: there is an urgent need for participation of stakeholders, proper
funding arrangement and proper monitoring and evaluation system in the rural
drinking water programmes. Some suggestions are
 Participation of stakeholders: Emphasis must be laid on the participation
of stakeholders at all levels, from planning, design and location to
implementation and management.
 Village Water Committees: ‘Village Water Committees’ should be actively
involved in the maintenance of drinking water supply schemes and a system of
beneficiary participation introduced.
 Funding Arrangement: Suitable institutional and funding arrangements through
community participation need to be evolved to get the installations working.
 Participatory Communication: Participation of village women and NGOs,
voluntary organisations should also be encouraged.
 Information, Education and Knowledge: Information, education and knowledge
should be given on the health and hygiene issue.
 Water quality monitoring and surveillance systems: In view of the increasing
problem of water quality and the resultant health hazards, it is necessary to
institutionalise water quality monitoring and surveillance systems. Water
quality surveillance should be done by an independent organisation, more
appropriately by the Health Department which should be provided with adequate
funds for the task.
 Water Quality Management: The choice of technology in case of schemes
related to water quality (detection of fluoride, iron, arsenic), shall be
district/block specific. Further research is required to improve available
technologies for treatment of chemically contaminated water, in terms of their
simplification and increased cost effectiveness.
Drinking water has been included as flagship program of the
Government. In India, investments in community water supply projects have
increased steadily from the 1st plan to the 12th plan. However, the health
benefits in terms of reduction in waterborne disease have not been commensurate
with the investments made. Though health sector is bearing the burden of water
related infectious diseases, presently it does not have adequate institution or
expertise for monitoring and surveillance of community water supply programmes
in the country.