Supply of Safe drinking water in rural areas has always been one of the prime goals of the government. The government policies and programmes in rural water supply have also undergone a series of changes ever since Independence. In the initial years, emphasis was laid upon providing physical infrastructures like sanitary wells, handpumps, etc. Thereafter, one can see a transition from implementation of simple drinking water supply systems to a techno-sociological approach seeking active participation of the people. Serious steps to ensure sustainability of the systems were initiated in 1999 to institutionalise community participation in rural drinking water supply schemes through Sector Reform Project which was a paradigm shift from “government-oriented supply-led approach” to “people-led demand-centric approach”.
Making provision of safe drinking water to all in rural India is a challenging task. Given the diversity of the country and its people, solutions have to be diverse and unique. One has to consider an approach that seeks the participation of users the communities with various government policies and schemes. Such an integrated approach which includes planning, designing, implementing of water supply schemes and their operational management would incorporate collaborative efforts of various actors involving the government, civil society and needless to say, the people at large. Citizens should be made aware of the demand for clean and safe drinking water as a right as well as their responsibility through strong awareness programmes.
- Sector reform
- Service provider
- Water conservation