Following the article published in this newspaper about how Mokokchung, a town striving towards 150 years of existence, is facing a severe water crisis, as detailed in the Vision Mokokchung 2040 document, the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED), Government of Nagaland, through its official Twitter account, informed Mokokchung Times that the Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban) would be launched soon by the Government of India for town and urban habitations.
The PHED added that the “department will put in effort in all the way possible”.
It may be mentioned here that Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban) was announced under the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry to provide universal coverage of water supply to all households through functional taps in all statutory towns in accordance with Sustainable Development Goal-6 during the Budget 2021-22.
It complements the Jal Jeevan Mission (Rural), which envisages the supply of 55 liters of water per person per day to every rural household through Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTC) by 2024.
The mission’s core objectives involve securing tap and sewer connections, rejuvenating water bodies, and fostering a circular water economy. Under the Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban), efforts will be directed towards augmenting sustainable freshwater supply, creating green spaces, and developing sponge cities to mitigate floods. The Urban Aquifer Management plan is central to these endeavors.
A ‘sponge city’ is one that seamlessly integrates urban water management into planning policies and designs, promoting a circular economy of water. This includes the development of city water balance plans for recycling and reusing treated sewage, rejuvenating water bodies, and conserving water.
The comprehensive strategy of the Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban) encompasses various key components. Firstly, there is a focus on leveraging the latest technology through a proposed Technology Sub-Mission, aiming to harness cutting-edge global technologies in the water sector.
Additionally, the mission prioritizes spreading mass awareness about water conservation through an ongoing Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) campaign, intending to create a ‘Jan andolan’ or a people’s movement for water, establishing it as a collective priority.
To ensure equitable water distribution, promote wastewater reuse, and map water bodies based on quantity and quality, a city-wide survey known as Pey Jal Survekshan will be implemented. The mission also addresses the strengthening of urban local bodies by setting targets such as reducing non-revenue water to below 20%, recycling used water to meet specific demands, promoting dual piping systems, raising funds through municipal bonds, and undertaking the rejuvenation of water bodies.
Furthermore, the promotion of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model is emphasized, mandating cities with populations exceeding one million to undertake PPP projects, constituting a minimum of 10% of their total project fund allocation.
The funding structure is designed to be region-specific, with Union Territories receiving 100% central funding, Northeastern, and Hill States receiving 90%, and central funding varying based on city population. This ranges from 50% for cities with populations less than 1 lakh to 25% for cities with a million-plus population.
The mission adopts an outcome-based funding approach, releasing government funding in three tranches of 20:40:40, with subsequent releases contingent on the achievement of predetermined outcomes. Rigorous evaluation is integral to ensure credible exclusion during funding considerations.