Stakeholders at Odisha Vikash Conclave 2016 have outlined the theme to and design the road map as a part of good governance and sustainable development.
Despite considerable investment, millions continue to live without access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene – recognized as essential human rights. Odisha being one of the poorest States in India has not been able to achieve the desired result in WASH. Sanitation has not been considered a serious development concern in Odisha and hence all interventions have been limited to service delivery even as massive programmes such as the Total Sanitation Campaign Programme (TSCP), Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) and National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) are being implemented.
The magnitude of the WASH related challenges in Odisha is much higher as compared to the national scenario. As per census 2011, Odisha is amongst the bottom two states in the country with 14% sanitation coverage in rural areas through household sanitary toilets. A recently released Report by the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) reveals that Odisha has 31% coverage with respect to household sanitation facilities in rural areas. A critical aspect related to household toilets is the functionality. Around 8% of existing toilets are reported as dysfunctional as per a baseline study by the Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation (MDWS). Field observations clearly suggest that a large numbers of toilets are not being used by the community due to varied reasons.
Though the status of Odisha in terms of coverage is higher than the national average, access to safe water still eludes many in rural area. As per Census 2011 – 61.87 % rural and 79.93 % urban households in Odisha have access to water for drinking and domestic purposes. However, both the availability and quality of drinking water affects access of drinking water. In Odisha, more than 35% of rural households walk the 1/2-km distance to fetch water. Many drinking water sources during the summer go dry impacting access. ‘Drawdown,’ mostly resulting from the depleting ground water level, is an omnipresent phenomenon. The problem is aggravating in coastal areas due to excessive withdrawal of ground water for irrigation. In addition, frequent breakdown of tube wells and lack of maintenance of piped water supply systems are major concerns
Sustainable water source and its quality are emerging as major challenges in Odisha. While water sources are becoming scarce due to rising population, degrading natural resource base, climatic variations, improper management and conflicting uses – bacterial, fecal, arsenic and fluoride contamination puts a question mark on the quality of drinking water.
Though the sanitation coverage has received a boost under the SBM from 13% in 2014-15 to 31% in rural Odisha, there is still a long way to go. The drinking water sector also has a similar enabling policy framework. Through staggered outlays, all 80 lakh plus rural households have the policy assurance of piped water supply over the next few years.
The Odisha Development Conclave-2016 is an opportunity to bring key stakeholders to brainstorm on the following key issues affecting WASH in Odisha and to come up with specific recommendations to fast track WASH the commitments.
- Behavioral Change in adoption of WASH practices
- Quantitative Vs Qualitative Infrastructure
- Water Source Sustainability & quality
- Overall Institutional Mechanism for WASH
- People’s participation in WASH promotion
- Sharing of good practices and the opportunity to scale up