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Swachhagraha: An All-inclusive Approach Towards Water

Water ATMs should also be treated as a Micro Industry and reduced cost loans from various multilateral agencies should be made available under the employment generation programmes leading to livelihood creation

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Water is today turning out to be the most precious commodity having taken over Oil and left it far behind. More than often we have seen Water has been an element of strife with states within India fighting over it as a classic example. Having said that it is very imperative to address this issue and nip it right now before it goes on to alarming extrapolations. There is a strong need to conserve save and preserve water in all its forms. 80 per cent of India receives its source of drinking water from the ground. Historically, bore wells have been dug all over the country to provide such access. This has resulted into the water table shrinking deeper and deeper and resultant water being more and more contaminated. That coupled with treatment processes that generate backwash, which is a concentrated composition of the contaminants arrested to make the target water clean, finding its way back to the ground makes it very corrosive.

In lieu of this, it should be mandatory for any person to have and execute a replenishing strategy without which he or she should not be allowed to draw water. Innovation, Advocacy and capacity building are the critical elements at the grassroots and the key for sustainability of any drinking water intervention. Innovation should be across Technology, Socio-Economic Models and skill building.

Beyond Drinking Water, access to water is the key to effective implementation of any sanitation strategy. Toilets without access to water more that often become defunct and source of communicable disease.

Inspired by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, we at Aquakraft Projects, have conceptualised a unique sustainable socio-economic model, Swachh, using water and sanitation as underlying assets. Swachh is an acronym for Sanitation & Water for Community Health & Hygiene. Aquakraft is an innovation driven next generation social enterprise focused on providing Clean Drinking Water & Sanitation to one and all. As a part of our continuous innovation, we have developed aquatm - Water ATM, which vends clean drinking water at a most affordable unit price of Rs 5 per litre and aquato - Bio Toilet which gives access to sanitation at Rs 5 per use. Both aquatm & aquato are operator driven who are vocationally trained and share a part of the proceeds of Rs 5 leading to skill development and livelihood creation. Normally the community or the consumers to whom smart cards are issued decide the price of the water and access to a toilet. A special impetus is given to engaging women as operators leading to women empowerment. SWACHH while giving access to clean drinking water and toilets enables financial inclusion, skill development, vocational training, women empowerment and sustainability. SWACHH uses Green Technologies in all its interventions.

The corporate under their CSR can sponsor water ATMs, Branding budgets leading to unparalleled social equity. Water ATMs should also be treated as a Micro Industry and reduced cost loans from various multilateral agencies should be made available under the employment generation programmes leading to livelihood creation.

It is very important to create a strong linkage between the consumers and other stakeholders and hence innovations in skill building are necessary. Aquakraft has created a vocational course called Swachh. This course imparts training in Rain Water Harvesting, Ground Water recharging, Water Quality Management, Plumbing, Sanitation management, and epidemic control in case of a water-related disease. It is our endeavour to have 2 Swachh Bandhu's and 2 Swachh Bhagini's in every village to be employed under the MNREGA or the NRLM. These Swachh Bandhu's and Swachh Bhagini's will act as custodians and monitors of Drinking Water and Sanitation Assets across the country.

So let us on this UN World Water Day commit ourselves to an all inclusive stakeholders participation and address WATER with a holistic approach to making it as an element of peace rather than strife.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Subramanya K. Kusnur

Subramanya K. Kusnur is the Founder Chairman & CEO of Aquakraft Projects

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