Panchayats will set fee for supply of piped water to homes

NEW DELHI: You will have total freedom to decide the monthly user rate for each household under the scheme (connection) and decide who can be exempt from paying the charges.

The union secretary of drinking water Parameswaran Iyer told TOI that the ministry will soon issue guidelines for the operation of the scheme under which the villagers will have to pay 10% of the cost of the distribution system in the town and this can be in cash or in species )

Our guidelines will provide a lot of flexibility. The basic rule of one tenth of the capital expenditure for the distribution system in the village from the villagers is to give them a sense of ownership and responsibility to the people, he said.

Iyer said management should be done at the lowest appropriate level. If there is adequate quality and quantity of water available in a village, it should be a local scheme. But if the water has to be extracted from a distance, then it will be a scheme of several villages with higher level structures to administer the system.

The sources said that since the government wants to replicate the models adopted to make the tap water connection a popular movement, it plans to give the locals a lot of power and responsibility to manage their own affairs. Currently, household tap water coverage is around 19% and the government has set a goal to achieve a 100% connection by 2024.

The authorities said that the role of the community becomes even more important in this scheme, considering that in almost 70% of cases groundwater will be the source of drinking water. Therefore, groundwater recharge will be one of the main areas of focus and that can only be achieved with community participation.

Conservation and recharge will be the key. And the third focus area will be greater use of recycled gray water. Almost 70-75% of tap water is converted to gray water and the objective will be to reuse them after the minimum treatment at the local level. They may have soaking wells or waste stabilization ponds. NGOs will be used to help communities execute the scheme, Iyer said.