The success of various projects and initiatives in providing water and sanitation in different areas of Punjab can be attributed to the holistic approach of state government which finds reflection in its policy on Water and Sanitation.
With its Water and Sanitation policy, the government has set up an agenda to provide optimum quantity and acceptable quality of water and sanitation for all on sustainable basis. The Punjab Drinking Water Policy was approved in May 2011 and certain modifications were made to evolve to the growing needs. The policy has been drafted keeping in view the significance of sanitation, with uniformity in providing the facilities, remaining the key area of focus.
The policy aims at providing a broad framework and guidelines to provincial institutions, district administration and Tehsil Municipal Administration for improving sanitation coverage and services in the areas. A holistic approach ensuring fair distribution of resources is the basic objective of the policy, which revolves around improving the sanitation coverage and disparities in the rural areas.
On a larger scale the primary focus of water supply and sanitation policy is to improve socio economic condition and to raise living standard of the community by providing quality drinking water and improved sanitation services all over the state.
The long term strategy of Punjab government has a vision to reform water and sanitation in all the 12248 villages with 11,930 gram panchayats in 20 districts of state. The objective is to improve the living conditions of its 166 million population by 100% water supply coverage with better service standards and private service connections to most households.
With a purpose to improve environmental sanitation a provision has been made in the policy to encourage projects which initiate work on pilot basis in about 100 villages for providing modern underground waste water collection and disposal systems. The government has also chosen a sector wide approach to implement medium term sector programme for all new investments, irrespective of the source of funding.
Punjab Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (PRWSS) Project
The project is a remarkable initiative of state government in collaboration with the union government and IDA(world Bank) which is aimed at reforming the Water supply and sanitation sector in the rural areas of Punjab.
In fact the Department of Water Supply and Sanitation (DWSS) has developed certain key features in its policy draft which work as a guideline to carry forward the objectives of the project. As per it the rural local government along with the user groups have been made responsible for upgradation and management of intra-village Rural Water supply and Sanitation (RWSS) facilities and services. It also has introduced partial capital cost sharing by users.
Workable and low cost Sewerage and Sanitation
The government has taken fresh initiative for developing workable and low cost sewerage system in the form of small bore sewerage system and cost effective sewage treatment technologies. The prime reason for adopting small boring sewerage system was the high capital cost of conventional sewerage system and availability of less quantity of waste water in rural areas for effective functioning of conventional sewerage system.
Initially Punjab government executed small bore drainage system in three villages of state in 2004-05. Besides conventional sewerage system was also commissioned in four villages. The project has a provision to finance on pilot basis construction of small bore sewers and sewerage schemes in about 100 villages which already have good house hold sanitation coverage.
More projects in offing
Besides a number of other development initiatives are being taken by the government in the current financial year of 2015-16. For instance under Saaf Pani initiative a sum of Rs 11,000 million was allocated by the government.