Most of the world countries are facing the problem of fresh water, scarcity is mainly due to climatic variations, irregular rainfall and increasing population. Indian cities depend upon underground water sources to meet their water demand. The cities face considerable decline in water table in the dry seasons. Cities, the concrete jungle and are characterized by impermeable structural formations. The water which can percolate inside the earth in form of rain also get drained off resulting in depletion in available water resources. There is change in rainfall pattern and also rainfall availability is reducing, due to climatic variations. Rainfall in Guwahati has been in a declining trend It is the sustainable development which is a new buzzword in the arena of academics. In contemporary studies the importance of water and its governance is a big diaspora. Swyngedouw (2004: 28) puts it, “Water is a hybrid thing that captures and embodies processes that are simultaneously material, discursive, and symbolic.” Water is an element whose materiality and geo-ecological properties shape social relations, even as those social relations act on and transform water’s materiality. Perreault Water once naturally occurred and socially produced are pre condition for social power. Budds and Hinojosa put it, “Water’s materiality and social relations constitute and express each other.”
In India, water is a state subject. It is the government of India and various state governments who take care of decision in decision making process in regards of water supply.
India launched the National Rural Drinking Water Supply Programme in 1969; and in 1986 the national level apex committee of drinking water was formed, the National Drinking Water Mission (later called Rajiv Gandhi National Drinking Water Mission or RGNDWM). India committed to the MDG of the United Nations in 2002 and all drinking water related programmes were consolidated under the RGNDWM. But India experienced paradigm shift, from the ‘Government-oriented supply- drinking approach’ to the ‘People-oriented demand- responsive approach’. The Swajaldhara projects started piloting in 1999 and it changed the role of government from service provider to facilitator. With the government paying for 90 per cent of the infrastructure cost, and community paying for the remaining 10 per cent and 100 per cent of the operation and maintenance cost, the communities were made responsible for their water supply projects.
The State/ULBs have certain weaknesses that affect their service provisioning. There is influence of political interests on state agencies interferes in key techno-economic decisions such as tariffs, investments, sales and purchases. State owned agencies lack effective accountability. There are no provisions or mechanisms for the accountability of ULBs for the costs and quality of the services. The ULBs lack in grievance redressal and feedback mechanisms. Elections and political functionaries might be a defensive check but there is enough scope for reforms.
Fig: Cycle of Issues with Infrastructure Service Provisioning
(7) (PDF) Issues, Challenges and Prospects of Water Supply in Urban India. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/280310011_Issues_Challenges_and_Prospects_of_Water_Supply_in_Urban_India accessed Nov 19 2018.
The question for concept of sustainability belong to operation of public policies and in terms of measuring it. Without indicators or a quantitative framework, sustainable development policies lack a solid foundation on which to advance. But it is necessary to understand which lens we are using to form ideas of ‘sustainability’.