The Department of Drinking Water Supply (DDWS) launched the National Rural Drinking Water Program (NRDWP) in April, 2009. The NRDWP builds on experiences gained through past efforts by many stakeholders and brings all existing rural drinking water initiatives under a single program. The focus of the NRDWP is to ensure drinking water security for all rural citizens in India. Drinking water security means providing every rural person with enough safe water for drinking, cooking and other domestic needs at all times and in all situations, including periods of drought and flood and for livestock.
The people living in rural habitations and villages have an important responsibility to decide how much water they have and how they use it, and what measures they must take to ensure drinking water security. The NRDWP guidelines recognize this, and make provisions to incentivize states to hand over the responsibility for planning, implementing, operating, maintaining and managing drinking water security to Panchayat Raj Institutions.
The Gram Panchayats (GP), as leaders and representatives of the community, have to take the lead in achieving this goal of drinking water security. The Gram Panchayats, through Village Water and Sanitation Committees (VWSCs), have to mobilize communities, educate them and ensure they get the necessary training and technical support to achieve drinking water security. The Gram Sabha is the main platform for taking decisions and approving plans.
It is recognized that rural communities cannot achieve all of this on their own. Block Resource Centers (BRCs), District Water and Sanitation Missions (DWSMs), State Water and Sanitation Support Organizations (SWSSOs), technical agencies like the Public Health Engineering Departments (PHEDs), training institutions like the State Institutes for Rural Development (SIRDs) and local private partners and NGOs all have a critical role in providing support. In light of the importance of the role of the Gram Panchayats, this handbook has been developed to act as a reference to them and a guide for trainers in training the GP/VWSC members.
The various sections of the handbook are –
- How do we get started?
- How do we prepare a village water security plan?
- How do we implement the plan?
- How do we operate and maintain the system?
- How do we monitor our progress and performance?
The handbook is available in both Hindi and English and can be downloaded below -