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Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain 2024 Emphasizes Women in Water Conservation

Catch The Rain" campaign promotes rainwater harvesting in India. In 2023, it focuses on "Source Sustainability for Drinking Water" in 150 districts, creating check dams, water harvesting pits, rooftop systems.

By Jyotsna Richhariya
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With the theme "Nari Shakti se Jal Shakti '', JSL-CTA 2024, fifth in the series, emphasises the pivotal role played by women in the field of water conservation.

The Ministry of Jal Shakti launched the Jal Shakti Abhiyan (JSA) in the year 2019 in 1,592 blocks out of 2,836 blocks in 256 water-stressed districts of the country. JSA was launched to promote water conservation and water resource management by focusing on the accelerated implementation of five targeted interventions:

  1. water conservation and rainwater harvesting, 

  2. renovation of traditional and other water bodies, 

  3. reuse of water and recharging of structures, 

  4. watershed development and

  5. intensive afforestation

Since 2019, under the JSA campaign, around 1.29 crore water-related works have been undertaken across the country. Further, 661 Jal Shakti Kendras have been set up and 527 districts have prepared District Water Conservation Plans under the campaign, as per official data.

During the discussion on the theme ‘Drinking Water’ in the Chief Secretaries' Conference held in December 2023, the following commitments were made:

  • Convergence of resources and efforts in rural areas

  1. Geo-tagging of all water supply sources (September 2024).

  2. At least one recharge structure for each groundwater source (March 2026).

  3. Rejuvenation and sustenance of spring sources (March 2026).

  • Convergence of resources and efforts in urban areas

    1. Identify water bodies as potential water sources (September 2024).

    2. Defunct borewell for groundwater recharge (September 2024).

The scope of JSA was expanded with the Catch the Rain campaign in 2021.

What is the Catch the Rain Campaign?

A campaign called “Catch The Rain” with the tagline “Catch the rain, where it falls, when it falls” was launched in 2021 to nudge the states and all stakeholders to create Rain Water Harvesting Structures (RWHS). It covers all the blocks of all districts (rural as well as urban areas) across the country. Under this campaign, drives to make check dams, water harvesting pits, rooftop RWHS (rainwater harvesting system), etc will be made.

JSA: CTR since 2021 has been a yearly feature. From March 4, 2023, to November 11, 2023, JSA: CTR 2023, with the topic "Source Sustainability for Drinking Water," was implemented nationwide with a focus on 150 districts that were identified by Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM).

With the theme "Nari Shakti se Jal Shakti," Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain – 2024 has been launched from March 9, 2024, to November 30, 2024. The program highlights the crucial role that women play in the field of water conservation. As in prior years, the five targeted interventions are as follows:

  1. water conservation and rainwater harvesting;

  2. enumerating, geo-tagging & making an inventory of all water bodies; 

  3. preparation of scientific plans for water conservation based on it; 

  4. setting up of Jal Shakti Kendras in all districts;

  5. intensive afforestation; and

  6. awareness generation.

Apart from the five focused interventions, JSA: CTR 2024 will have a distinctive emphasis on the following key aspects this year: 

  1. de-silting and cleaning of water bodies;

  2. Revitalizing abandoned or defunct borewells for groundwater recharge; 

  3. Geo-tagging of water bodies, coupled with meticulous mapping and regular updates in the State's revenue records;

  4. Intensified afforestation efforts in the catchment areas surrounding water bodies;

  5. Snow harvesting in hilly areas like stupas in Ladakh to conserve water

  6. Rejuvenation of small Rivers.

Nari Shakti se Jal Shakti

The theme emphasises the integral role of women in water conservation and management. The campaign comes under the National Water Mission, Department of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, in collaboration with the Department of Drinking Water & Sanitation. The Union Minister also virtually launched two books namely “Jal Shakti Abhiyan 2019–2023: The Journey for Sustainable Water Future” and “101 Glimpse of Women Power: Through the Prism of Jal Jeevan Mission”.

Work done in 2024

From the launch of JSA: CTR 2024 until April 19, 2024, 150 water conservation and rainwater harvesting projects have been initiated. Renovation of traditional/other water bodies began at 36 sites. 255 watershed development projects, 1927 intensive afforestation and 1565 wastewater treatment projects have been initiated under the 2024 Catch the Rain Campaign. 

Major Challenges

Based on the study titled “Reassessment of Water Availability in India using Space Inputs, 2019” conducted by the Central Water Commission, the water demand is likely to be 843 billion cubic metres (bcm) in 2025 and 1,180 bcm by 2050. Notably, these targets are not beyond reach. It only requires being focused and following an appropriate strategy. The need is to not only ‘catch more rain’ but also manage the demand for water better.

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