Arunachal Pradesh has again received a very high rainfall in the current monsoon season. Many of the drinking water supply installations dependent on the surface sources have faced the fury of natural calamities in terms of flash flood, cloud bursts, landslides and erosions. The Ledum multi village water supply project feeding potable drinking water to Bilat circle, Oyan-Sille Circle and Ruksin headquarter covering 19 villages with a population of 21,287 under East Siang District, Arunachal Pradesh was one of the projects damaged badly due to sudden cloud burst at its catchment area. The intake work which is situated at 1,500 feet above MSL and at a distance of 7 Km from last motorable road point was hit hard. The main pipeline (DI 250 mm diameter) was also damaged at various river crossings.
Arunachal Pradesh is highly dependent on Assam and states beyond for skilled and unskilled workforce. With the Covid-19 pandemic related lockdowns and safety protocols in place, the availability of workforce is constrained. Going by the gravity of the damages, it would have taken weeks to restore the water supply system, but the motivated youth of Bilat circle, about 70 of them, came forward to help the Public Health Engineering Department in restoration works. The Department while providing the skilled manpower, materials, etc. had to use the services of elephants also in retrieving the DI pipes that were scattered and buried under the silt or debris along the river bed. The result of the participation of the people in the restoration effort saw that the resumption of drinking water supply to the entire villages was ensured in 3 days.
The efforts of the officials of PHED and the determination of the community to come forward for this kind of repair work shows that the community can play a huge role in operation and maintenance of water supply systems in rural areas. Jal Jeevan Mission aims to capitalise on community participation.
Announced by Prime Minister on 15th August, 2019, Jal Jeevan Mission is under implementation in partnership with States with the objective to provide functional household tap connections to every rural household of the country by 2024. The goal of the Mission is to enable every rural household has assured availability of potable water at a service level of 55 litres per capita per day (lpcd) on regular and long-term basis so as to bring improvements in lives of people living in rural areas.
Water availability in Arunachal Pradesh is not an issue, but the challenges faced in implementation are the tough mountainous terrain, sparsely located habitations and the harsh climatic conditions. However, the State Govt is making all efforts to cover all villages/ habitations so as potable water reaches every rural household. Jal Jeevan Mission provides a golden opportunity to the State to provide clean, potable water to its citizens in their houses, so that the burden of women and girls is lessened.
Arunachal Pradesh Government has decided to provide 100% tap water connections to all the households in the State by 2023 under the Mission.