The Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) has allocated Rs 1.22 crore for restoring a defunct piped water scheme in 74 gram panchayats of Sehore and Datia district in Madhya Pradesh. The allocation is a result of advocacy efforts by WaterAid India and our partners in the region for the past three years.
The problem in restoration was due to a discrepancy in the data of functional piped water supply and the actual status on the ground. In August 2016, WaterAid India team had a discussion with the then Principal Secretary of PHED Mr Pankaj Agarwal and had shared a report on functionality of the piped water supply scheme that was prepared by us in the year 2015 under our MPWASH programme. The report emphasised that ensuring sustainability of a piped water scheme is impossible without involving communities and gram sabhas in the planning, implementing and monitoring. Subsequently, the PHED in collaboration with the Rural Development Department, issued a joint letter to districts for including the agenda of planning for repair of defunct piped water supply scheme in the gram sabhas being organised in October 2016.
The communities under the guidance of field level staff from PHED and the Panchayat Secretary did a quick assessment of the defunct piped water scheme and recommended it for approval of the gram sabhas. Based on the approval of gram sabhas, the PHED prepared an estimate for the repair work. Our partner in Sehore and Datia supported this initiative and facilitated the assessment, planning and presentation of the plans in the gram sabhas. As a result, the department has allocated a budget of Rs 60.97 lakh in Datia for restoration of 32 defunct schemes and Rs 61.08 lakh for restoration of 42 defunct piped water schemes in Sehore respectively. As a follow up, we are facilitating the formation of user groups in the communities which would monitor the implementation of the restoration plans. Since the Panchayats have a major role to play in this process, we have started our intervention to mobilise panchayat and community leaders on different components of the community managed piped water scheme.