National Rural Drinking Water Programme/NRDWP: Overview and Modifications

National Rural Drinking Water Programme/NRDWP: Overview and Modifications

Question: Lack of potable drinking water is a major problem in rural areas and good governance needs to address this. Provide an outline of the National Rural Drinking Water Programme for agrarian areas and the recent modifications made to it for enhanced efficiency of this governance initiative.

Objectives of the NRDWP are as follows:

• The programme aims to move from habitation level coverage towards household level drinking water

• The programme also focuses on creation of multiple drinking water sources rather than a single one

• It also stresses conjunctive use of surface water, groundwater and rainwater harvesting

• NRDWP also encourages sustainable drinking water schemes and prevents slippage

• It focuses on encouraging water conservation methods including revival of traditional water bodies

• It also promotes the converging of water conservation programmes at the village level

• Preparation of water budgeting and village water security plans is also a part of the programme

• It emphasises moving from high cost treatment technologies for handling contamination by arsenic and fluoride contamination for development of alternative sources in respect of arsenic contamination and alternate sources/dilution of aquifers via rainwater harvesting

• Development of preliminary drinking water testing at Gram Panchayat is another objective

• Establishment of water testing laboratory facilities with regard to potable drinking water at district and subdivision level

• Water quality monitoring and surveillance with Jalmani guidelines is for implementation of standalone drinking water purification systems in rural agrarian schools

• Management of rural drinking water schemes should be handed to PRIs(incentive of 10% of NRDWP allocation for states transferring the management)

Components of NRDWP

The components under the NRDWP programme are as follows:

• NRDWP (Coverage),
• NRDWP (Sustainability),
• NRDWP (Water quality),
• NRDWP (DDP areas),
• NRDWP (Natural calamity)
• NRDWP (Support)

• Department of drinking water supply has also scheduled 10% of the Central outlay for programme for NE states


11th Plan identified major issues needing tackling at the time of the plan period such as :

• Sustainability
• Water availability and supply
• Poor water quality
• Need for decentralised approaches
• Financing of operational and maintenance costs while ensuring gender and social equity

Following modifications have consequently been made:

• Emphasis is on source sustainability, community managed programmes and recognition of gaps between infrastructure created and service available

• Adequate water supply received by all household of habitations will be the criteria rather than installation of a water source

• Change has been made in that larger and various indicators of water security rather than litres per capital per day are used as means of measuring water availability

• Focus is on ensuring household level drinking water security via preparation of village water security plans and household level water budgeting

• Recharge mechanisms to be mandatory for new as well as old ground water schemes and emphasis on conjunctive use of surface and groundwater.

• Need for social regulation of agricultural water was stressed for meeting drinking water demands

• Catchment protection schemes for surface water and revival of traditional systems of water conservation are in place

Facts and Stats

• Provision of safe drinking water is a basic, critical necessity

• Rural drinking water is a State subject

• It is contained in the 11th Schedule of the Constitution of India which states it must be taken charge of by Panchayats

• GOI introduced the ARWSP/Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme in the 1970s to support states and UTs with financial and technical assistance

• Revised programme for providing assistance in this sector is the National Rural Drinking Water Programme
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