Provision of safe drinking water is a basic necessity. Water is a State subject and rural water supply has been included in the Eleventh Schedule of the Constitution among the subjects that may be entrusted to Panchayats by the States. Considering the magnitude of the problem, the Central Government has been supplementing the efforts of the State Governments through various programs from time to time.
Government’s major intervention in water sector started in 1972-73 through the Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme (ARWSP) for assisting States/UTs to accelerate the coverage of drinking water supply in ‘problem villages’. A Technology Mission with stress on water quality, appropriate technology intervention, human resource development support and other related activities was introduced in 1986 which was subsequently renamed as the Rajiv Gandhi National Drinking Water Mission (RGNDWM) in 1991. In 1999-2000, Sector Reform Projects was started to involve the community in planning, implementation and management of drinking water schemes which was scaled up in 2002 as the Swajaldhara Programme.
The Eleventh Plan identifies the major issues that need tackling during this period as the problem of sustainability, water availability and supply, poor water quality, centralized vs. decentralized approaches and financing of O&M cost while ensuring equity in regard to gender, socially and economically weaker sections of the society, school children, socially vulnerable section of society . In order to address the above issues, the rural water supply programme and guidelines have been revised w.e.f. 1.4.2009 as the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP).
The National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) is a centrally sponsored scheme aimed at providing adequate and safe drinking water to the rural population of the country.