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Home / News / India /  Jal Jeevan Mission deploys sensor-based IoT devices to monitor rural drinking water supply systems

In a bid to monitor the rural drinking water supply systems in villages, the Ministry of Jal Shakti has decided to take the digital route to use sensor-based IoT devices to effectively monitor the implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) in more than six lakh villages. For this, National Jal Jeevan Mission in collaboration with Tata Community Initiatives Trust (TCIT) and Tata Trusts recently completed pilot projects in several remote villages of five States i.e. Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Himachal Pradesh.

A key feature of these pilots has been the use of frugal yet sturdy sensors, which makes the solution scalable and sustainable, the ministry said in a statement. One of the key challenges posed to the team was to develop a robust solution at a fraction of the water infrastructure costs (<10-15% of total scheme capex) without compromising on quality or functionality. These costs are expected to reduce further at scale.

More importantly, majority of the vendors, including manufacturers, are Indian players, thereby giving a boost to Government’s AatmaNirbhar Bharat programme. The pilots went live in September 2020 despite challenges during covid-19 pandemic, the government said.

The Internet of Things (IoT) based remote monitoring provides near real-time information without any manual intervention by using sensors. This would not only allow effective monitoring and management on-ground, but also enable real-time visibility to State water supply/ PHED officials, and citizens, said the government.

With a futuristic vision to ensure regular tap water to every home, real-time measurement and monitoring is critical for rural drinking water supply schemes, with enormous gains in terms of operational efficiencies, cost reduction, grievance redressal, etc, the government said. Data will drive improvement in service delivery and instill transparency for precious natural asset such as water, the government said, adding thus, making a strong social and economic case for deployment of such a system.

The pilots have led to several outcomes as it has helped identify distribution issues – such as outages, leakages, low pressure, etc. and led to resolution across sites. It recently alerted both officials and community regarding fast depleting groundwater levels, that led the villagers to build a source strengthening structure to recharge their borewell. Other benefits observed include efficient and responsible use of water by community and reduced cost of operations through data-enabled leak detection, predictive maintenance, and automation.

Drinking water supply systems in Indian villages face multiple challenges of drying up of groundwater source, pump failures, irregular and inadequate water supply, etc. These challenges invariably aggravate socio-economic disparities, like women transporting water, often on foot over several kilometers; several water-borne diseases, which could easily be avoided; also, economic – wage loss and expenditure on medical care. The need of the hour is to ensure and put in place systems to effectively monitor and manage rural water supply.

Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM), Union Government's flagship programme, which is implemented in partnership with States/ UTs to provide tap water connection to every rural household by 2024envisions creating a Digital Wall and Remote Command & Control Centre for monitoring and managing supply of prescribed quality water in adequate quantity (55 Liters Per Capita per Day - LPCD) every day through household tap connections across all rural villages.

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