Karnataka fails to meet water supply target

The government of Karnataka has failed to achieve the target of providing safe drinking water to 17.35 per cent of the state’s rural habitations during 2012-13 and spent only 46 per cent of Rs 800.38 crore allocated under the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) till January 31, two months before the end of the financial year.

The state government has also missed the target of addressing the problem of contaminated drinking water in 2,467 rural habitations and is estimated to have helped only 1,500 in the just-concluded financial year.

It could provide only 1,312 rural schools with drinking water supply till last January, against a target of 5,261 in 2012-13. The District Information System for Education revealed that 46,325 government rural schools did not have drinking water supply. 

According to Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS), Karnataka had a target of providing safe drinking water to 10,339 of altogether 59,575 rural habitations across the State in 2012-13. It could, however, cover only 5,963 habitations by February 13.

During a meeting to discuss the Annual Action Plan for implementation of the NRDWP in the state in 2013-14, the MDWS officials disapproved the State government’s continued focus on the habitations that already have 75 per cent to 100 per cent population provided with safe drinking water supply.

They asked the state government’s representative to prioritise NRDWP implementation on the habitations where access to safe water was limited to 0 per cent -25 per cent and 25 per cent-50 per cent of the population.

The MDWS also asked the state government to clarify why it had chosen 2,114 habitations that already had 100 per cent of population coverage for implementation of the NRDWP in 2012-13. The State government, however, said the Centre should re-categorise the habitations for further implementation of the programme.

According to the 2011 Census, 24.8 per cent of rural households in Karnataka are dependent on drinking water sources which are more than 500 metres away.
The Centre has now asked the Karnataka government to focus on providing drinking water and tap connections to habitations with such households.

In a communiqué to the State government, the MDWS noted that the 10.90 per cent and 33.50 per cent and 3.80 per cent rural households in Karnataka used water from uncovered wells and untreated taps.

The state government was asked to cover the uncovered wells and ensure treatment of water before supplying it through taps. The Centre will tentatively allocate Rs 968 crore for implementation of the NRDWP in the State in 2013-14. The MDWS has asked the State government to aim at providing drinking water to at least 3,000 rural schools and 10,000 anganwadis during 2013-14.

An MDWS document pointed out that Karnataka had, on April 1, 2012, altogether 5,875 rural habitations with contaminated sources of drinking water. While 2,806 rural habitations in the State have drinking water sources contaminated with fluoride, 938 have iron contaminations and 734 have the problem of salinity.

The MDWS asked the State government to provide safe drinking water under the NRDWP to 90 per cent of the habitations still left with fluoride contamination in drinking water sources.

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