Just creating sanitation infrastructure in villages and schools alone will not bring the desired results, rather we must focus on building local capacity, engage the beneficiaries and stakeholders, recruit professional managers and change social behaviour among target groups by roping in social entrepreneurs, said PDG Ron Denham, Chair Emeritus, Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group (WASRAG).
Speaking at the session on ‘Providing Clean Water’ at the Centenary Summit in Kolkata, he said WASRAG is helping local communities to take ownership of water and sanitation facilities by making them ‘partners in execution’. In the last five years, the Foundation has implemented WASH projects worth $113 million across the world. “Rotary has done 316 global grant programmes on water and sanitation at an investment of $23 million and individual projects worth $250,000 in Indian zones. WASRAG helps clubs in drafting proposals for global grant funding and offers a compendium of best practices for executing clubs,” he said.
In his presentation, PDG Ranjan Dhingra, Chairman, RI Water Mission (RIWM), recalled the Delhi Declaration 2003 after a presidential conclave which led to the formation of RI Water Conservation Trust in the next year. “So far, we have built over 110 check dams in Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab benefitting 5,000 people. We hope to do at least 10 per cent of the government projects under this holistic programmes of RIWM,” he said. By 2025, RIWM plans to build 10,000 check dams; revive and rejuvenate 10,000 waterbodies; and 50,000 urban RWH structures at ₹50 crore.
RI Water & Sanitation RI Water & Sanitation Mission’s target 2025
WinS in 100,000 schools
5,000 ODF-plus villages
1,000 villages with tapped water connections under the Jal Jeevan Mission
500 community toilets in villages
500 public toilet blocks in cities for use by floating population
500 WASH projects for hospitals
On a larger scale, Rotary India has drawn up plans to make 250,000 villages self-sustained communities (net zero) at an estimated cost of ₹25 crore and will take up advocacy campaigns to touch 50 crore lives across the country at an estimate of ₹2.5 crore. “The sanitation coverage under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan which stood at 39 per cent rose to 99 per cent as on June 2019 covering six lakh villages in 700 revenue districts,” said PDG Ramesh Aggarwal, Chair, RI Sanitation Mission. He said Rotary is forming alliance with UNICEF, World Vision, Sulabh International and other agencies, besides working closely with the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti, to achieve its goals.
Magsaysay awardee and water conservationist Rajendra Singh said nowhere on earth was the groundwater decline greater than in North India where NASA images have shown that largescale irrigation and exploitation has led to drastic alteration of the topography. He pointed out that indigenous methods were efficient in reversing climate change and even micro clouds were formed over the restored waterbodies.
Union Minister of Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said, “While 89 per cent of water resources are used for agriculture, the balance 11 per cent is consumed for industrial and household needs. We need to conserve and recycle water to meet the shortfall for which we need a mindset change among people.”
Chairing the session, PRID P T Prabhakar, Global Chair, WASH in Schools Target Challenge Committee and Advisor, Rotary India Water and Sanitation Committee, said to continue with the WinS success story, RIPN Shekhar Mehta, in consultation with RIDs Bharat Pandya and Kamal Sanghvi, has formed Rotary India’s Water and Sanitation Mission (RIWSM) which will support the Swachh Bharat and Jal Shakti Missions of the GoI.