World Water Day 2019
‘Leaving no one behind’, an adaptation of the central promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: as sustainable development progresses, everyone must benefit, was the theme for World Water Day 2019. Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) aims to ensure availability and sustainable management of water for all by 2030. India’s Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, in collaboration with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras with support from UNICEF India, organised on the occasion of World Water Day that is celebrated every year on 22 March, a National Workshop on Management of Grey Water in Rural Areas and Arsenic and Fluoride Remediation on 21 & 22 March 2019 and its highlight are as under:
Swachh Bharat Mission:
- India is transiting from Open Defecation Free (ODF) to ODF+ status and to sustain ODF status, after achieving good sanitation coverage under Swachh Bharat Mission.
Grey Water: World Water Day 2019
- Significant research and technology inputs are required to have standards for grey water discharge, and local level manageable low cost solutions for its management.
- There is need for integration of policy, research, technology, and skill development for effective grey water management in rural areas.
- International and national policies on grey water and its relevance to Indian context were discussed.
- Emphasis was laid on setting standards for grey water reuse for agriculture and groundwater recharge.
- Various technologies, ranging from a simple soak pits, phytoremediation to membrane based grey water treatment were discussed.
- It was emphasised that the technologies to be adopted in rural areas need to be simple, require less skill level for construction, operation and maintenance.
- State Governments of Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Telangana, and Punjab presented their experience on managing the grey water in rural areas.
- Accessing financial resources by integrating different schemes for construction of grey water recharge structures and beneficial health and economic aspects were highlighted.
Arsenic and Fluoride Contamination:
- An overview and policy aspects on water affected with arsenic and fluoride were presented, including policy level interventions to address the arsenic and fluoride contamination, health effects and communication strategies for creating awareness at community level about the adverse effects of these contaminations.
- Technologies session for arsenic and fluoride contamination focussed on different available technologies to remove localised arsenic/fluoride like terra fill to advanced ones like nano technology based solutions, membrane technologies and community based approach for fluoride remediation.
- Five States affected with arsenic/fluoride – West Bengal, Tamilnadu, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan – made presentations on strategies to provide contaminant free potable water.
Billions of people today are still living without Safe Water: water that is accessible on the premises, available when needed, and free from contamination. Access to water underpins public health and is therefore critical to sustainable development and a stable and prosperous world.
To ‘leave no one behind’, we must focus our efforts towards including people who have been marginalized or ignored. Water services must meet the needs of marginalized groups. Regulatory and legal frameworks must recognise the right to water for all people, and sufficient funding must be fairly and effectively targeted at those who need it most.