Recognizing the pivotal role of women in water management, a new initiative by the central government seeks to empower them to ensure availability of safe and clean drinking water for their households.
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), in collaboration with the Ministry’s National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM), is all set to launch the “Women for Water, Water for Women,” also known as the “Jal Diwali” campaign.
This three-day campaign starting November 7 is part of the flagship scheme, the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), and seeks to celebrate “Jal Diwali” by promoting women’s inclusion in water governance.
The campaign’s primary objective is to provide women with the knowledge and understanding of water treatment processes. Women will be encouraged to visit Water Treatment Plants (WTPs) in their respective cities, where they will gain firsthand knowledge about the procedures involved in delivering clean and safe drinking water to households. Additionally, participants will learn about water quality testing protocols, ensuring that citizens receive water of the required quality.
The campaign seeks to instill a sense of ownership and belonging among women towards water infrastructure. It also aims to address issues of gender equality by promoting inclusivity and diversity in sectors traditionally dominated by men.
India has over 3,000 water treatment plants, with a designed water treatment capacity exceeding 65,000 Million Liters per Day (MLD) and an operational capacity exceeding 55,000 MLD. During the campaign, women from Self Help Groups (SHGs) will visit more than 550 water treatment plants, with a combined operational capacity of over 20,000 MLD, representing more than 35% of the country’s total capacity.
In its initial phase, the campaign will witness participation from all States and Union Territories, except those under the Model Code of Conduct. The campaign expects the active involvement of more than 15,000 SHG women nationwide. The key focus areas of the campaign include familiarizing women with the functioning of Water Treatment Plants and water testing facilities, promoting inclusivity and involvement through souvenirs and articles created by Women SHGs, and educating women about the AMRUT scheme and its impact on water infrastructure.
The anticipated outcomes of the campaign encompass increased awareness and knowledge about water treatment, a heightened sense of ownership and responsibility among women, promotion of inclusivity, empowerment of SHGs, positive community impact, and providing a model for future initiatives.
Facilitating these visits by identifying suitable WTPs will be state and city officials from AMRUT and NULM. MoHUA has called upon all state and city officials to actively participate and support this initiative, marking a significant stride towards including women in the vital space of water infrastructure under AMRUT.