Drinking Water and Sanitation


National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP)

As against the target of 7,98,967 habitations for coverage under National Rural Drinking Water Programme during the 11th Plan, 6,65,034 habitations (83 per cent) were covered. The difficulty has been that even as coverage becomes universal, there is a growing problem of ‘slipback’,with habitations suffering a fall in the water table and water quality, especially given the growing dependence on groundwater. Water quality has emerged as a growing concern chemically due to geogenic leaching (arsenic and fluoride) and biologically due to bacteriological contamination. Lack of convergence with sanitation, compromises water quality.

Poor operation and maintenance has resulted in high rates of attrition and dilapidated facilities. This has happened mainly because people do not feel a sense of ownership over the facility created and in the absence of sufficient support structures and professional capacities upkeep suffers.


1.While the ultimate goal is to provide households with safe piped drinking water supply at the rate of 70 litres per capita per day (Ipcd), considering feasibility, as an interim measure the goal has been kept at 55 Ipcd for the 12th Plan.

2.By 2017, it is targeted that at least 50 per cent of rural population in the country (as against 35 per cent today) will have access to 40 Ipcd piped water supply within their household premises or within 100 metres radius (and within 10 metres elevation in hilly areas) from their households.

3.By 2017, it is targeted that at least 35 per cent of rural population have individual household connections as against 13 per cent currently.

4.Convergence between drinking water supply and sanitation will be strengthened by taking up villages covered with piped water supply to get open defecation free status on priority and vice versa.

5.A part of NRDWP outlay will be set apart for integrated Habitat Improvement Projects to provide housing, water and sanitation facilities in rural areas at par with urban areas.

6.Capacity building of members of the Village Water and Sanitation Committees (VWSC) is of critical importance.

7.Participation of the beneficiaries, especially women, in water supply schemes will be ensured right from the conceptualisation and planning stage, construction and management after completion. Decisions to be made at the lowest possible level especially on issues like location, implementation, sustainability, operation & maintenance and management of water supply schemes, while retaining an umbrella role for the Gram Panchayats for effective implementation.

8.The weakest aspect of rural water supply is operation and maintenance. Allocation for operations and maintenance has been increased from 10 per cent of NRDWP allocation at present to 15 per cent  Plan.

9.All government schools and anganwadis (in government or community buildings) will be provided with water supply for drinking and for toilets as per relevant quantity norms by convergence of NRDWP for existing schools and SSA for new schools set up under SSA. For private schools, supply of water will be ensured by enforcement of the provisions of the Right to Education Act by the Education Department.

10.All community toilets built with public funds and maintained for public use will be provided with running water supply under NRDWP.

11.Waste water treatment and recycling will be an integral part of every water supply plan or project.

12.Management of liquid and solid waste will be promoted together with recycling and reuse of grey water for agriculture and groundwater recharge and pollution control. This will be done on priority in Nirmal Gram Puraskar (NGP) village.

13.A holistic aquifer and surface water management approach with active community participation will converge in a District Water Vision that includes monitoring and recording of groundwater levels and rainfall at sub-block level and Aquifer Management Plans to protect and recharge drinking water sources

14.Care will be taken to ensure that a minimum distance is maintained between the toilet systems and water sources, to alleviate the problem of faecal contamination.

15.A progressive tariff with different pricing tiers for different uses and different classes of consumers can be considered at various administrative levels, i.e the Gram Panchayat (GP), district and state as appropriate. Incentives may be provided to the GPs for collecting user charges from the beneficiaries. A minimum collection of 50 per cent of operations and maintenance cost (including electricity charges) through user charges will be the target.

16.Given the growing importance of water quality issues, dedicated funding will be provided to states with quality affected habitations, over and above the normal NRDWP allocation to the state. Within this dedicated funding highest priority will be given to arsenic and fluoride affected habitations. Part of the funding would also be made available to tackle bacteriological contamination.

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