On 7 July, 2017, PHD Chamber for Commerce organised a ‘National Conclave on Drinking Water Quality’ in New Delhi. The conclave focussed on solutions for managing water quality, affordable clean drinking water for all, planning for sustainable utilities, sewage treatment, wastewater management, and designing integrated infrastructure.
WaterAid India was the Knowledge Partner for the conclave and released a report – Drinking Water Quality in India.
The conclave was attended by people from non-profit organisations like Safe Water Network, Union Government Ministries including the Ministry of Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, government officials, and academia among others.
Experts from the sector presented their work keeping in view the major challenges faced by the country today. This included water quality, its management, and monitoring, issues associated with groundwater and its accountability towards the rural and urban needs. Also, the deteriorating condition of the Ganges and the role of technology in solving water contamination and scarcity issues were discussed.
Mr. R.K. Sinha, Chief Engineer, Central Water Commission, highlighted how open defecation leads to contamination of water sources. He stressed on the need of coordinated efforts between the concerned departments for effective implementation of policies and programmes.
Dr. Neelima Alam, Scientist, Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India, explained the relationship between water and technology. She also showcased the various models introduced by DST for the treatment of water. Other speakers from Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and Central Ground Water Board, Ministry of Water Resources discussed the various contaminations of water and its impact on health.
Puneet Srivastava, Manager – Policy, WaterAid India emphasised that institutionalisation of water safety plans holds key to help people access safe drinking water. Although water-testing kits are present on the ground they are not institutionalised and accepted by all.
He explained the concept of Jal Chaupal, a non-political platform for the villagers to discuss their challenges of water conservation and usage, and seek a common solution. He shared how Jal Chaupal is gradually being accepted by villagers in Kanpur and Fatehnagar, and how they are now using this platform to come together and discuss other problems existing in their village as well.