Importance of a safe water supply system
Water is a basic need for every human being. Most of the world population still does not have centralized water supply with connections to individual households. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), roughly 2.4 billion of the world’s population does not have access to an improved sanitation facility and about 1.1 billion people does not have access to safe drinking water. The provision of safe and adequate drinking water to the burgeoning urban population continues to be one of the major challenging tasks for any state.
Water constitutes one of the important physical environments of man and has a direct bearing on the health and hygiene of mankind. There is no denying the fact that the contamination of water leads to numerous health hazards. Water is precious to man and therefore WHO refers to “control of Water supplies to ensure that they are pure and wholesome as one of the primary objectives of environmental sanitation”.
Safe water is one of the most important felt needs in public health in developing countries in the twenty first century. The year 2005 marked the beginning of the “International Decade for Action: Water for Life” and renewed effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to reduce by half the proportion of the world’s population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation by 2015.
The WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation, known as the JMP, reports every two years on access to drinking water and sanitation worldwide and on progress towards related targets under Millennium Development Goal (MDG). MDG drinking water target, which calls for halving the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water between 1990 and 2015, was met in 2010, five years ahead of schedule. However, the report also shows why the job is far from finished. Many still lack safe drinking water, and the world is unlikely to meet the MDG sanitation target. Continued efforts are needed to reduce urban-rural disparities and inequities associated with poverty.
Water is a good carrier of disease germs. If water is not made safe against disease germs, it may become responsible for so many diseases and epidemics. Diseases such as typhoid, cholera, dysentery, etc are the direct causes of defective water supply. Water is a also a very good solvent. If water contains excessive amounts of minerals or poisonous dissolved substances, it will again cause so many difficulties to the public. Therefore, water which is used by the public should be wholesome and must be free from disease producing bacteria, poisonous substances and excessive amount of minerals, and organic matter. Therefore, it is very important that water works must remove all the impurities and bacteria from water and make it wholesome.
The issue of potable water has been attracting attention of the government and the international agencies. The United Nations initiative in the water sector at the global level, Vancouver Habitat 1977 Conference, International Drinking Water and Sanitation Decade Programme, UN Resolution regarding safe water by 2000 AD etc., bear testimony to the interest, that the inland government and agencies abroad are taking in this regard. Back home, the Rajiv Gandhi National Drinking Water Mission (RGNDWM) under the auspices of the Ministry of Rural Development has been implementing the programmes of potable water supply to the population in rural areas. Thus, there is great need for the improvement in the provision of drinking water, being a basic amenity and it deserves the highest priority in the development efforts of most of the countries which have large gap between the demand of water and of actual availability.
India has a large population and also high rate of growth, and it is very difficult for the government to provide adequate drinking water supply within limited resources. The distinctive feature of the Indian rural water supply scenario was a Mission Approach with appropriate combining of technological, social and organizational innovation. Technologically more efficient water supply systems, including regional pipe water supply schemes on the one hand and dug-wells with energized pump-sets on the other, have been brought in on a large scale. Bhore Committee constituted in 1944, was the first body to draw attention to safe-drinking water supply at the national scale. During the pre-independence period, this Committee laid emphasis on the safe-drinking water supply. In 1947, Madras Government followed the course by appointing a committee. The state government was interested in the formulation of some new policies regarding urban and rural areas in the entire state.
The Environmental Hygiene Committee was appointed in 1948-49 by the Union Government. This committee was the first agency for an overall assessment of the country-wide problems in the entire field of environmental hygiene and it made notable recommendations in the broader field of environmental hygiene and urged for greater activities in this direction. This committee recommended particularly a broad plan to provide water supply and sanitation amenities for 90 per cent of the people within a period of 40 years and also advised a scheme of priorities for certain areas.
The city or town should be given the benefit of water supply scheme, wherever possible. Any water supply project grants the following advantages:
- The growth of new industries for various pipe appurtenances such as air valves, etc. takes place in the locality granting employment opportunities.
- The industries which require pure water for their working are saved from the expenditure of installing their own water purification plant.
- The installation and maintenance of the water supply scheme grant opportunities of employment to the local people.
- The public in general gets treated reliable water for consumption and other uses.
- The sanitation of the area is considerably improved by the adequate water supply
- There are less chances of water borne diseases to occur resulting in saving of human lives and working hours.
- The available water in the locality is used in the best possible manner and its misuse and wastage are avoided to a considerable extent.