The spirit of community partnership amongst the villagers of Tekhouba, District Phekin, Nagaland is inspirational for other local communities. The community developed their indigenous method to deal with water scarcity. The water source located 5.5 kms from the village has enough discharge, but the real challenge was to bring water to the village through gravity system in such hilly terrain. Under the leadership of village council and local Water & Sanitation (WATSAN) committee, the community secured forest clearance, fencing, labour force requirement and also managed to get land donated for the water supply system. The scheme covers 553 households with a minimum service level of 55 lpcd. The Village Council collects water user charge from every household and also ensures its proper utilization towards operation & maintenance expenditure of water supply facilities.
Similarly, the smiles of Vedami village members says it all with them basking in the new found ‘ease-of-living’ status, as envisaged under Jal Jeevan Mission. Every household of this village is now provided with 55 litres per capita per day of assured safe water supply in adequate quantity and of prescribed quality on regular basis and this has become possible only through community participation and active involvement of the local Water and Sanitation (WATSAN) committee.
The same story echoes in Tsongphong village of 65 households which was one of the first villages to be covered under the Mission. The village is situated in Kiphire district, the only Aspirational district of Nagaland. As with most gravity schemes, the laying of the main pipeline was a huge task as road connectivity is almost non-existent here. This challenge did not deter the community spirit as the entire community came together and contributed generously in the form of cash and/ or labour to realize their dream of tap water connections. The WATSAN committee of this village also leads the operation and maintenance activities ensuring long-term sustainability of their water supply system.
What is Jal Jeevan Mission?
Union Government’s flagship programme, Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) is under implementation in partnership with States with the objective of ensuring potable water supply in adequate quantity and of prescribed quality to every rural household on regular and long-term basis. JJM is a decentralized, demand-driven, community-managed program facilitating rural – local communities to function as water utilities and lead planning, implementation, management, operation and maintenance of in-village water supply systems. Success stories from such remote villages in hilly terrain overcoming many challenges speak volumes of the transformative role of the Mission in improving the quality of life of rural communities.
Model and Lesson learned is replicable:
As this model is helping to improve quality of life by providing tap water in far flung areas through community participation, could be replicated in similar hilly areas as well. The Model of community participation and partnership amongst the villagers is lesson to all villages across the India that change is possible if we work together.