In a move to provide technical support to the Bihar State Government on clean drinking water, WaterAid India (WAI) formally entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Bihar State Water and Sanitation Mission. The four year MoU was signed on 28 September 2016 in Patna by V K Madhavan, Chief Executive WAI; and Birendra Kumar, Member Secretary, Executive Committee, Bihar State Water and Sanitation Mission.
The provision of clean drinking water is one of Bihar State’s good governance seven-point policy resolutions. Called Bihar Grameen Swacch Peyajal Nischay Abhiyan (Bihar Rural Clean Drinking Water Resolution Campaign), the campaign seeks to enable safe water access by the year 2020 to 22,261 habitations affected by Fluoride, Arsenic, and Iron contamination through community led water quality mitigation and surveillance.
WAI will support the state Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) in strengthening water quality testing facilities, build capacity among officials and technicians, develop Information, Education and Communication material, and enable behaviour change based communication participation by institutionalising Jal Choupal concept.
Formed of an informal group of experts, academics and individuals working in water issues, Jal Choupal is a platform for promoting free and fair exchange of knowledge for policy and action. The platform was initially created in response to the extent of water contamination in parts of Uttar Pradesh by WaterAid India in collaboration with the Arsenic Knowledge and Action Network, and Fluoride Knowledge and Action Network at the state and regional levels. In Bihar now, the state government with support from WAI will be taking the concept down to the Gram Panchayat level as a systematic process to review water accessibility, and quality issues biannually.
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