LAHORE: In the new budget, the Punjab government has allocated Rs86.2 billion for the Punjab rural sustainable water supply and sanitation project which aims to develop water supply and sanitation infrastructure in 2000 villages of Punjab.
In collaboration with the World Bank, the Local Government and Community Development Department will execute the project in 16 tehsils including Khushab, Mianwali, Sargodha, Chakwal, Bhakkar, Pakpattan, Chiniot, Jhang, Rajanpur, Rahim Yar Khan, DG Khan, Lodhran, Bahawalpur, Muzaffargarh, Bahawalnagar, and Multan.
As per a department’s document, the project has four components: water supply and sanitation infrastructure development, behavior change and capacity development, service delivery improvement, and project management and monitoring. The project’s objective is to ‘provide equitable and sustainable access to safely managed water and sanitation and reduce child stunting.’ The first component will fill the infrastructure gap in the existing traditional rural water supply and sanitation systems that underlies the low access to safely managed water and sanitation in rural Punjab. The department will develop infrastructure for the disposal of household waste in small settlements and upgrade the sewage conveyance system for large settlements. “Existing open drains will be retained to serve communities for stormwater drainage while methods will be deployed for wastewater treatment,” the document added.
For water supply, the department will either install skimming wells adjacent to main or branch canals or opt for direct pumping of groundwater from unconfined aquifers. Under the ‘behaviour change and capacity development’ component, the department will finance activities that facilitate and induce health-protective behaviour change and build community capacity to support water supply and sanitation service delivery. Moreover, the project will raise awareness and change behaviour related to Covid-19 and safe wash practices, and train and build capacity of village-level institutions that are involved in water and sanitation service. The third component, service delivery improvement, has two aims: establishment of institutions and its capacity building for service delivery and solid waste and animal waste management.
Under the fourth component, the project will develop and use a comprehensive IT-based Management Information System (MIS) to track project implementation progress, water supply and sanitation service delivery performance, the flow of public and donor funds, and related financial management information, and outcome indicators.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021