Drinking Water Current Affairs - 2020

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Jalsathi: Odisha Govt. launches programme to ensure supply of safe drinking water

Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik launched the ‘Jalsathi’ programme which will ensure supply of safe drinking water to all households in the state. During the programme launch, he distributed water quality testing kits and POS (point of sale) machines to women volunteers being called as- ‘Jalasathis’.

About ‘Jalsathi’ programme

Implementation: A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between Water Corporation of Odisha (WATCO) and women federations in Bhubaneswar (Odisha Capital) for implementation of ‘Jalsathi’ programme.

Coverage: Initially, the ‘Jalasathi’ programme will be implemented in as many as 8 wards of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) under the 5T initiative of Housing and Urban Development. The programme will be implemented in remaining wards of Bhubaneswar and other urban areas of state in next phases. The initiative will benefit abot 70 lakh people in urban areas.

Under ‘Jalsathi’ programme, about 5,000 women will be engaged for supplying safe drinking water. Earlier, the state government had also engaged women self-help groups (SHGs) under ‘Mission Shakti‘, for collection of power dues, paddy procurement, mid-day meal preparation activities. Therefore, the inclusion of woman volunteers from Mission Shakti for piped water supply where they will serve people as ‘Jalasathis’ will further boost their economic empowerment.

Jalasathis: The ‘Jalasathis’ will act as links between consumers and Public Health Engineering Organisation (PHEO) or Water Corporation of Odisha (WATCO). They  will be responsible for water quality testing, collection of water charges, facilitating new water connections, regularising connections, facilitating complaints redressal, reassessment of demands, meter reading, bill generation and bill delivery.

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NSO report: Rural India yet to become Open Defecation Free

The NSO under Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation conducted survey on drinking water, hygiene, sanitation and housing condition between the period July 2018 and December 2018. According to the survey one fourth of the households had no access to toilets.

The main objective of this survey was to gather information about sanitation along with housing facilities available to the households and micro environment surrounding the houses. The survey is important as the GoI is currently working on a set target of Drinking Water for all by 2024.

Highlights

The survey says that around 42.9% of the households in rural areas and around 40.9% households in urban areas are still using hand pumps. About 80.7% in urban area and 58.2% in rural areas had drinking water facilities within the household premises.

The survey reports that around 94.5% in rural and 97.4% in urban used improved water resources. Improved water resources include piped water, hand pump, tube well, protected spring, private tanker truck, rain water collection and bottled water.

Open Defecation

The Swacch Bharat Mission declared India open defecation free on October 2, 2019. However, according to the survey 71.3% in rural and 96.2% in urban had no access to toilets. Proper drainage system was found only in 61.1% of rural households and 92% of urban households.

Micro Environment

Around 48.3% of households in rural and 86.6% in urban used LPG as fuel. 48.1% of households in rural areas and 71.1% of urban households disposed household waste water without treatment to drainage system.

Under Swachh Bharat Mission, door step collection of garbage and segregated collection of garbage is being implemented. However, the survey says that 70.3% of households urban and 72.4% of households in rural still disposed garbage in community dumping spots, open land, waste land, etc.

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