Working towards making Gram Panchayats Drinking Water Secure

Advocating the cause of Participatory Monitoring of Groundwater

Water Security Planning, Kolar district, Karnataka

Population projections (2050) reflect an Indian population well over the 1.5 billion mark. With utilizable water resources in India – surface or groundwater – more or less constant, there is growing concern that several regions in India will progress towards being ‘Water Stressed’ and eventually ‘Water Scarce’. This concern increases in the peninsular states, where groundwater has developed under complex hydro Geo thermal conditions and restoring it to its potential a challenge. In addition to this, an increase in water quality affected habitations and the impact of climate change on groundwater and its overall vulnerability is also a cause of concern.

Supporting the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation’s National Rural Drinking Water Security Pilot Project (NRDWSPP) in achieving its goal of an improved rural water supply, we demonstrated the water security approach to planning the management of water resources including preparation of participatory Water Budgets, implementation of Village Water Security Plans (VWSP), training of local institutions, orientation of government departments, monitoring of progress and evaluation of impacts. The pilot project was demonstrated in 30 Gram Panchayats, Kolar district, Karnataka with key components including source sustainability, system sustainability, sustainable service delivery, institutional sustainability and sustainable sanitation and hygiene.

According to the water budget exercises conducted in the 30 GPs, Mulbagal was found to be an overexploited block with a stage of groundwater development of 235.40%. Further the range of inter GP variations was also great. The general findings the water budget indicate that in all the GP the estimated use of groundwater for drinking and domestic purposes was negligible. However, due to over exploitation by irrigation limited groundwater was available for further development of drinking water sources.

Therefore, the following measures were demonstrated in the 30 GPs to balance the demand of water from different uses with supply:-

Key Components Key measures demonstrated
Source sustainability

Regulation in the gross cropped area, drip irrigation, shifts in cropping patterns, development/rejuvenation/renovation surface water bodies (tanks, ponds, kalyanis, school rooftops, recharge pits etc)

System sustainability New drinking water bore wells, revival of piped water supply (tap connections, piped water, extending the distribution network)
Sustainable service delivery Installation of water meters, fixation of water tariffs
Institutional sustainability Training of VWSC and Swatchtadoots on NRDWSPP, exposure visits of GP members/VWSC, Swatchtadoots/Community Mobilizers on operation and maintenance of piped water supply
Sustainable sanitation and hygiene Construction of toilets

The documented impacts of the project include a general decline in the stage of groundwater development, improvement in availability of adequate and safe water for drinking purposes, community based management of drinking water systems, improvement in coverage of household toilets and sustainability of sources. This can be attributed to convergence of capacities of multiple organizations such as the World Bank supported Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) and line departments of Panchayati Raj and Engineering (PRED), Agriculture, Horticulture, Sericulture and Land Resources. These departments were represented by Panchayat Development Officers (PDOs) and District and Taluk Coordinators (including under the NBA). Other institutions involved in the implementation of the project included the farmers, Village Water and Sanitation Committees (VWSC) and the Swatchtadoots or Community Mobilizers.

Project outputs during the reporting period
               Baseline (2012)                                              End line (Till March, 2015)

  • Stage of Groundwater Development 235.40%.    Groundwater Development 192.74%.
  • Drinking & Domestic Water 418.85 ham.            Drinking & Domestic Water 431.42 ham.
  • Crop water utilization 14826 ham.                   Crop Water Utilization 5778.22 ham.
  • 582 operational drinking water bore well.         416 operational drinking water bore wells.
  • 89 Defunct Bore Wells.                                 339 Defunct Bore wells.
  • 78% Households without access to toilets.    58% Households without access to toilets.
  • 25 functional rain gauges.

Application of Groundwater Prospecting Maps

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