As part of the Centre’s focus to provide basic amenities in remote areas, aspirational districts and border areas, a multidisciplinary Central team, comprising officials of the Jal Shakti Ministry and experts, visited Leh to help the administration speed up the implementation of the Jal Jeevan Mission in the Union Territory with a focus on providing tap water in sub-zero conditions.
The team visited Stok village, situated at an altitude of 3,500 metres, and interacted with the local community, including the sarpanch, members of the Village Water and Sanitation Committee (VWSC), and officials of the Public Health Engineering Department.
The team also assessed the potential of using the existing hand pumps to provide household tap water connections with the local community to own, manage, operate and maintain them to ensure regular and long-term water supply in their homes.
Both the UTs of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh plan to provide tap water connections to every rural household by 2022, when India celebrates its 75th year of Independence.
Making provision for household tap water connections in the difficult terrains of Ladakh becomes more challenging owing to its sub-zero atmospheric condition as well as only 5-6 months’ working season. Hence the Centre is trying to use advanced technology so that water supply in households during sub-zero temperature can be ensured.
“Emphasis is given to build low-cost gravity-based water supply systems with low operation and maintenance cost. The distribution pipelines need to be laid underground to avoid freezing due to very low temperature and subsequent bursting. The UT is encouraged for conjunctive use of water by relying on both streams as well as ground water sources to make sure there is no shortage of water even during snowfall,” said a government statement.
The mission says that it gives highest priority to the provision of potable water supply to every home. The water testing laboratories are being opened for the general public for testing of their water samples on nominal charge.
Community participation with focus on the planning of the water supply scheme in the villages to its operation and maintenance are the focus of the scheme.
Every village is taken up as a unit and a village action plan (VAP) for five years is being prepared for each village with the participation of the local community with mandatory components like strengthening of local drinking water sources; in-village water supply infrastructure to provide tap water connections; grey water treatment and reuse; and operation and maintenance of water supply systems so that every family gets assured supply of potable water.