Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat launched the Sujalam 2.0 campaign for greywater management at a virtual event hosted by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS), Ministry of Jal Shakti to mark the World Water Day, 2022. A joint advisory was also signed by nine ministries – Jal Shakti, Rural Development, Women & Child Development, Youth Affairs and Sports, Tribal Affairs, Health and Family Welfare, Education, Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Panchayati Raj, on how greywater management will be taken up at their level based on convergence model with all those who are directly associated in programme implementation.
Speaking at the launch of Sujlam 2.0 campaign, the Union Minister said, “The theme for this year is ‘Groundwater: making the invisible visible’. It is not only important but also timely. We may not be able to see the groundwater but its impact is visible everywhere! To focus on this important aspect, my Ministry is launching “Sujlam 2.0” campaign with the objective to manage greywater through people’s participation. Under the campaign, we plan to mobilise communities, our institutions like panchayats, schools, anganwadi to undertake greywater management. Greywater can be best managed where it is generated and turns into a major management and infrastructure challenge, if it is allowed to accumulate and stagnate. Our PRIs would work with people to ensure that greywater is managed at the most appropriate local level through construction of household and community soak pits.”
The Union Minister further said, “funds to execute the activities for greywater management can be sourced from SBM-G Phase II or through 15th Finance Commission tied-grants or MGNREGS or through convergence of all. This campaign will see people undertake collective situation assessment, plan and implement greywater management activities. IEC efforts for popularizing the significance of greywater management and mobilizing collective community action will be undertaken at State, District and local level. I urge, all my PRI & VWSC members, Swachhagrahis’, SHG leaders to intensify the Sujlam 2.0 campaign at the local level.”
Nicholas Osbert, Chief Water & Sanitation UNICEF in his welcome address shared the global perspective on greywater management. He said, “2.2 billion people across the world are facing water crisis. Sustainable Development Goal 6 aims to provide universal access to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation. Today, a number of Ministries under Government of India have come together to prepare the road map for water source sustainability, which is very heartening. The government has put the spotlight on greywater management. It is estimated that 31 billion litres of greywater is generated every day in India. There is need to develop sustainable behaviour practices to conserve water.”
Vini Mahajan, Secretary Department of Drinking Water & Sanitation while speaking on the Indian context said, “We are privileged to garner support from nine Ministries as everyone realizes the importance and pressure on water with growing population and climate change. Six crore tap water connections have been provided under Jal Jeevan Mission since its launch in August 2019. A total of 9.24 crore households in the country have access to water through taps. In present context, a lot of water will flow out of rural households. I am confident that under Sujlam 2.0 campaign, over 6 lakh villages will see intense activity on solid and liquid waste management. With large number of villages achieving 100% saturation under Jal Jeevan Mission which aims to provide every rural household with tap water connection by 2024, the time has come to focus on management of grey water generated in villages.”
Pankaj Kumar, Secretary Water Resource Department, Ministry of Jal Shakti said, “Groundwater serves as a reservoir which can be used when needed but the same needs to be replenished at regular intervals. Jal Shakti Abhiyan was launched in 2019 to cover water stressed districts, in 2021 it was taken to all rural and urban districts by the Prime Minister. In 2022, the Jal Shakti Abhiyan will be launched on 29th March, 2022. Another programme under the department is Atal Bhujal Yojana, which is being implemented in select areas of 7 States wherein the people prepare their water security plan detailing out how are they getting water, amount of water being consumed, type of water conservation method applied and how one can moderate its usage. The greywater generated from rural homes has to be managed properly otherwise it poses a big problem.”
Nagendra Nath Sinha, Secretary Ministry of Rural Development said, “While implementing the campaign it is important to revisit the learnings drawn from earlier programmes. Recalling an initiative taken up in Nandurbar, a tribal district in Maharashtra, by building a large number of soakpits they were able to reduce the incidences of malaria, dengue and other water and vector borne diseases apart from environment and ecological benefits. It is important to sensitize the rural communities as large amount of water will be generated, post availability of tap water, in every home. I offer support from the Self-Help Groups (SHGs) associated with us as they have been part of social issues pertaining to development in villages. The issues taken up at the villages will be revisited to cover water and sanitation concerns. At present we have a network of over 8 Crore women members which will support the campaign activities. MGNREGS under Schedule 1 Para 4 has been taking up works related to construction of soakpits, stabilization ponds for greywater treatment, drainage and repair of flood channels on large scale. Over 23 lakh soakpits, 48 lakh solid and liquid waste management structures and 1 lakh anganwadi centres are provided with toilets for which Rs 26,000 Crore has been spent over time. MGNREGS is a demand-driven programme and if the community is sensitized, works pertaining to water & sanitation shall be taken up in villages.”
Indevar Pandey, Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development while addressing the event said, “There are over 14 lakh anganwadi centers in the country which provide critical nutrition and early childhood care. Here children in the age group of 0-6 years and pregnant as well as lactating mothers get supplementary meals. Out of this 12.23 lakh anganwadi centres (AWC) have been provided with clean drinking water and a major portion of it is under Jal Jeevan Mission. Similarly, we have sanitation facilities in 11.02 lakh AWCs of which major work has been done under Swachh Bharat Mission – Grameen. This has played a major role in reduction of infant and maternal mortality rate. There are about 4.68 lakh kitchen gardens in the AWCs. The treated greywater can be used to irrigate these kitchen gardens.”
“As harbingers of change, youth of the country has perhaps the most important role bringing about change in behavior and leading efforts towards water conservation activities. National Service Scheme (NSS) and National Youth Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) volunteers have carried our 1.33 lakh advocacy activities on water conservation in the past and 16.15 lakh activities were undertaken to mobilize the community. 61 lakh youth leaders participated in activities undertaken in Sujlam 1.0 to make it into a Jan Andolan.”
Anil Kumar Jha, Secretary Ministry of Tribal Affairs while addressing the event said, “There are over 36,000 tribal villages which fall in Aspirational districts. Drinking water is top priority for them as even their survival is dependent on agriculture and forest produce. There are a number of ashramshalas and Navodaya Vidyalayas which are the education centres for tribal population. Tribal population is mostly dependant on natural springs for their water needs. We are preparing an ATLAS of these springs and appreciate the efforts made by DDWS in strengthening water sources and will join the activities under Sujlam 2.0 campaign.”
Anita Karwal, Secretary Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Education said, “As part of the Sujlam 2.0 campaign, schools have a key role to play, not only in creation and maintenance of greywater management assets, but also serve as hubs for generating awareness and promoting behavior change among children and youth by serving as ambassadors for sustainable water and sanitation.”
Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary Ministry of Health and Family Welfare while speaking on the occasion said, “Funds under National Health Mission (NHM), MGNREGS and 15th Finance Commission may be used to treat greywater at the healthcare centres and the treated water may be reused to recharge the groundwater. Water harvesting structures should be made an integral part of new healthcare buildings.”
Leena Nandan, Secretary Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change said, “We reassure our cooperation in recharging, reusing and recycling water for optimizing its use. It is time to stand shoulder-to-shoulder and reaffirm the commitment of recharging the water structures.”
While addressing the event Sunil Kumar, Secretary Ministry of Panchayati Raj said, “There are over 10,000 Gram Panchayats which are water stressed. Under Atal Bhujal Yojana, 2 lakh Gram Panchayats have developed water conservation plan which needs to be linked with Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP). The Ministries should join efforts of DDWS and help realize the goal of water conservation.”
While speaking at the event AS&MD, Jal Jeevan Mission & Swachh Bharat Mission, Arun Baroka said, “DDWS has directed its activities highlighting the important role played through greywater treatment in the circular economy, on the principles of 3 Rs viz., Reduce, Reuse and Recharge. Groundwater is important in not only climate change mitigation efforts but also on sustainable water supply. Swachh Bharat Mission is now in Phase II of its implementation under which so far, 48,376 of villages have declared themselves Open Defecation Free plus, while 56,449 villages are covered with Solid Waste Management (SWM) and 31,095 villages have Liquid Waste Management arrangement. 12,78,379 household and community soak pits have been constructed under the Sujlam 1.0 campaign.”
Speaking about the Sujlam 2.0 campaign, Arun Baroka said, “In order to sustain the achievement made under SBM(G) Phase I and ensuring holistic cleanliness in villages by having arrangement for solid and liquid waste management, Sujlam 2.0 campaign has been launched. The campaign would focus on the creation of institutional level greywater management assets in Panchayat Ghar, healthcare facilities, schools, anganwadi centres (AWCs), community centres and other government institutions. Creation of individual and community greywater management assets will be encouraged. With active participation from all States and local communities’ great success was achieved under Sujlam 1.0 campaign which was started in August 2021. More than 1 million soak pits were built at household and community level across the country.”
Baroka further added that technical manuals on greywater management have been developed by the Department which shall assist rural local bodies in making an informed choice on technologies for greywater management. These are available on our website and have also been provided to State and District Administration. Grey water is basically the water used for domestic purposes like kitchen, bathing & washing areas, etc. Grey water is free from faecal contamination and doesn’t include black water from toilets. He urged everyone to join the Sujlam 2.0 Campaign and ensure that the nation achieves effective greywater management in rural areas, so that they become WASH enlightened Villages.
In the end, an interaction was held with Sarpanch from Patora village in Durg district of Chhattisgarh, Dhianpur village in Gudarspur district of Punjab, Jalabpur village in Bijnor district of Uttar Pradesh and Pomlahier village of East Khasi Hills in Meghalaya. They spoke on how greywater management has improved their living conditions and helped in recharging ground water table.
Photo courtesy: PIB