KOHIMA, SEPTEMBER 3: Nagaland Government is working to ensure safe, adequate and sustainable drinking water supply and environmental hygiene for citizens of the State thereby improving the quality of life by 2030.
This is one of the 17 goals of the Nagaland Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Vision 2030 released by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio recently in the State capital. The goal is “Clean water and sanitation”.
By 2030, the Government targets to achieve 100% universal and equitable access to safe and sustainable drinking water and 70% of the developed Irrigated Command Area brought under Water Users Association (WUAs)
It also aims to protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes by 50%.
The focus will be to provide access to safe, adequate and affordable drinking water for all in both urban and rural areas through convergence and collaboration of water-related Departments, it said.
The Vision Document maintained that water, being a natural resource, is often left unattended and neglected while it is becoming a scarcer source due to overuse and misuse.
The State Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) has been consistently trying to augment the existing water supply system and provide safe and potable drinking water supply, safe disposal of solid and liquid waste and ensure environmental hygiene, it said.
Under the Water and Sanitation Support Organisation (WSSO), the Department is conducting programmes to educate the masses on the importance of safe water and sanitation, it said.
The Government is faced with 4 challenges, including:
Scarcity of Surface Water Source: In the plain sector and foothills of the State, surface water sources are scarce hence most of the water supply schemes are ground-water based. Water quality is an issue for such sources which need special treatment to make water potable. Moreover, the yield from ground sources is not adequate and sustainable in the long run.
Land Ownership: The unique system of landholding ownership by an individual, family or clan in the State often hinders and delays developmental activities particularly drinking water supply schemes.
Fund Constraints: Most villages in Nagaland are located at hilltops while the water source is located below or at a lower altitude. This necessitates schemes to bring water from distant sources long water transmission pipelines (steel pipes) to withstand the high pressure. Such water supply schemes have very high per capita cost even as the available fund is inadequate.
Limited Awareness: Despite the efforts to create positive behavioural changes among the general public on hygiene, use of safe drinking water and sanitation facilities and water conservation techniques, there is a lack of awareness among the general populace. There is an urgent need to create extensive IEC campaigns to help in sensitising the citizens on efficient and effective usage of water and sanitation facilities.
Hence, the Government has come out with a 6-pronged strategy as follows:
Tackling Shortage of Drinking Water: To tackle shortage of drinking water due to lack of dependable water sources, rainwater harvesting, water conservation and catchment area conservation can be leveraged under the National Water Conservation Plan of Jal Shakti Ministry through rainwater harvest, community-based water conservation and leveraging MGNREGA.
Maintaining that Nagaland receives considerable rainfall during the monsoon, the Government said for new and future building constructions, the respective district administrations could make rooftop rainwater harvesting compulsory.
Participatory groundwater management can go a long way to conserve water resources in a State like Nagaland which is constantly faced with drinking water shortages, it said.
Leveraging MGNREGA could be useful to regenerate traditional water management and conservation systems, enable water committees to fix non-democratic, non-consultative decision-making processes and address the inequitable water distribution issues.
Stressing on the need to formulate Nagaland State-specific guidelines, policies and Acts in order to address local challenges and to expedite the process of connecting water supply to all households, it said the Centre’s guidelines and policies with regards to water supply may or may not be fully applicable or appropriate in the local context and challenges that Nagaland faces with its unique land ownership pattern and terrain.
There is an urgent need to develop locally relevant systems and policies that will allow smoother implementation of programmes, it said.
IEC Campaign: To focus on creation of awareness among communities on various aspects of drinking water and sanitation through platforms such as seminars, workshops, banner/slogan campaigns, TV, radio, etc. Some ways in which IEC materials would be channelised are – District Administration, Village Council, Educational Institutions and Non-profit Organisations/Village Organisations.
Encourage Coordination and Partnership: Convergence of plans and programmes of the Line Departments such as Rural Development Department (MGNREGA/FFC), Water Resources Department, Soil and Water Conservation, etc., in implementation of development plans and new partnerships with the public sector, academics, institutions, etc. can help in achieving the desired goals.
Expand Hydrologic and Information Systems: The State Department of Water Resources
envisions to develop a proper support system for collection and storage of data through the creation of the Water Resources Information System (WRIS) followed by studies to alleviate various water related problems. The expectation is that knowledge, open access and stronger institutional capacity will contribute to a shift towards integrated water resources management at the basin scale. The resulting improved water allocation and use efficiency and the improved management of drought and flood risks are expected to bring substantial socio-economic benefit.
Increase Water Use Efficiency and Ensure Sustainable Supply of Fresh Water: Substantially increase water use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity.
Department of Water Resources: Further, the vision document also maintained that the Department of Water Resources in order to provide assured irrigation for intensive agriculture through surface irrigation and groundwater irrigation, would adopt Introduce water tariff for irrigation; Adopt volumetric basis for crop water management through introduction of appropriate crop planning and predetermine rotation irrigation system.
It would also work towards restoration of water bodies for multipurpose usage including groundwater recharge; Development of groundwater in conjunction with surface irrigation for providing assured irrigation for intensive agriculture; Tapping available water resources through all the perennial streams in the state for agricultural production through integrated planning in infrastructure development such as dams, reservoirs and diversion weirs.
(Page News Service)