Inspired by the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s impetus on Jal Sanchay, the Jal Shakti Abhiyan (JSA) is a time-bound, mission-mode water conservation campaign. The JSA aims at making water conservation a Jan Andolan through asset creation and extensive communication.
If 2014-19 was the phase to drive and upscale sanitation in the country, then 2019-24 will drop the spotlight on water. Reason: the rising water emergency that’s making India listen to alarm bells and consequentially a strong political commitment coming into place.
As promised by the Bharatiya Janata Party in its election manifesto, a unified Ministry of Jal Shakti was launched in May 2019 as an immediate response to the escalating water crisis in the country.
It also saw the reorganisation of existing ministries and departments like the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation as well as the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation coming under the umbrella of this new ministry.
Within a month of announcing the Ministry of Jal Shakti, the government launched Jal Shakti Abhiyan (JSA), an intensive water conservation campaign built on citizen participation to accelerate water conservation across the country.
In the short run, the campaign will focus on integrated demand and supply-side management of water at the local level, including creation of local infrastructure for source sustainability using rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge and management of household wastewater for reuse.
For the long run, the government launched the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) with an aim to ensure piped water supply to all rural households by 2024.
While the government has put up broader plans to solve the ongoing water crisis, there is a critical need to spell out JSA’s outcomes and targets in a tangible and achievable manner. Rainwater harvesting is a critical intervention and should be undertaken intensively in the identified 256 water-stressed districts where groundwater availability has reached critical and over exploited levels.
However, in the absence of targets, the focus on objectives can be limited as one cannot ascertain the extent of work to be done, priority areas to be covered, and how to actually measure performance.
Under this campaign, targeted activities shall be undertaken under 5 areas of intervention namely:
(i) Water conservation and rainwater harvesting
(ii) Renovation of traditional water bodies/tanks
(iii) Reuse, borewell recharge structures
(iv) Watershed development, and
(v) Intensive afforestation.
Govt. to start Jal Shakti Abhiyan for 255 water-stressed districts from July 1. The Centre is set to initiate the Jal Shakti Abhiyan to ramp up rainwater harvesting and conservation efforts in 255 water-stressed districts from July 1, in line with the government’s promise to focus on water.