The Swajaldhara Guidelines are an outcome of the Sector Reforms Project launched on a pilot basis in the year 1999-2000 and presently scaled up for the whole country from the Tenth Plan. Thus, if the village/block level Panchayati Raj Institutions or User Groups come forward and agree to adhere to the reform principles, water supply schemes can be taken up by them in those areas.
Swajaldhara has certain fundamental reform principles, which need to be adhered to by the State Governments and the Implementing Agencies. The principles are as follows -
- adoption of a demand-responsive, adaptable approach along with community participation based on empowerment of villagers to ensure their full participation in the project through a decision making role in the choice of the drinking water scheme, planning, design, implementation, control of finances and management arrangements;
- full ownership of drinking water assets with appropriate levels of panchayats,
- panchayats/communities to have the powers to plan, implement, operate, maintain and manage all Water Supply and Sanitation schemes;
- partial capital cost sharing either in cash or kind including labour or both, with 100 per cent responsibility of operation and maintenance (O&M) by the users ;
- an integrated service delivery mechanism ;
- taking up of conservation measures through rainwater harvesting and groundwater recharge systems for sustained drinking water supply; and
- shifting the role of Government from direct service delivery to that of planning, policy formulation, monitoring and evaluation, and partial financial support.
The full text of the guidelines can be accessed here: