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With focus on basic infrastructure AMRUT-2 can help urban slums overcome water crisis

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the second phase of Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) to make cities water secure.

News18.com | Updated: March 4, 2022, 6:00 PM IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the second phase of Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) to make cities water secure. Under AMRUT 2.0, the Centre aims to provide 100% coverage of water supply to all households in 4,700 cities and towns. The government targets to provide 2.68 crore direct tap water connections to households in urban areas. 

However, despite the efforts and different schemes by the Centre and state governments to improve access to clean drinking water in the cities a large section of people is yet to get clean water and sanitation facilities.

There is an urgent need of sustained efforts to create equitable access to basic infrastructure to improve the living condition of the marginalised sections, specifically those living in urban slums. Most of the slum dwellers lack access to drinking water and tap water connection. Irregular supply also makes the situation more difficult for them. 

According to a report released in October 2021, prepared by the Directorate of Economics and Statistics of Delhi government based on the data of the 76th round of National Sample Survey, in the national capital’s slums 44%depended on bottled water for drinking purposes. The use of bottled water for drinking doubled between 2012-2018 and during the same period 76% of Delhi’s households had piped drinking water connections. 

The water crisis could be compelling for slum dwellers in urban areas in the coming days as many major Indian cities are likely to face water crisis. In 2020, the World Wide Fund for Nature study predicted that around 30 cities in India will face a severe water crisis by 2050 due to increase in population.

Most of the slum dwellers depend on informal sources like bore-wells, stand points, bottled water or hand pumps. In terms of quantity they get much less water and the quality of water often remains a big issue. There are several hurdles in providing clean water to people residing in urban slums including contaminated water resources, poor condition of infrastructure and leakages which need to be addressed to ensure safe water for urban poor. According to a study by the Centre for Science and Environment, around 48% of water supply in urban India comes from groundwater and the depleting water level in major cities could result in a serious crisis in future, mostly for the poor people living in slums.  

Under Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban 2.0, to reduce the contamination of water resources and ensure the proper and consistent water supply the government has introduced a new component in which all water waste is safely contained, collected and treated so that no water waste pollutes the water bodies. 

A total of over 4.14 crore tap water connections to urban households have been provided by October 2021 under the AMRUT programme. AMRUT 2.0 aims at making around 47000 cities water secure. It will address water needs, rejuvenate water bodies, better manage aquifers and reuse treated wastewater thereby promoting a circular economy of water. 

Mission Paani, an initiative by News 18 and Harpic India, advocates access to water for people residing in urban slums. Mission Paani creates awareness towards the efforts to ensure availability of water to everyone in the urban slums.

You can be part of this revolution too and join the Mission Paani initiative.

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