Mission Bhagiratha: Quenching thirst through piped drinking water to every household

Gone are the days when people had to travel for kilometers on foot to fetch a pail of water, Mission Bhagiratha, Telangana’s flagship program, has ended the drinking water ordeal forever. The rural habitations in Telangana are no more worried for drinking water as safe and piped drinking water has reached every household. Mission Bhagiratha has quenched the thirst of Telangana and also eradicated a bone-crippling disease – fluorosis that plagued the region for decades.

With a noble aim to supply safe, adequate, sustainable and treated drinking water to entire rural and urban areas of the State excluding Hyderabad Urban Agglomeration inside the Outer Ring Road, CM KCR has envisioned a mammoth Telangana Drinking Water Supply Project. The project, popularly known as Mission Bhagiratha, has later emerged as a role model for the nation in drinking water supply. The union government has replicated the project naming it ‘Har Ghar Jal Yojana’. Credits Mission Bhagiratha, Telangana became the first state in India to have achieved 100% coverage of rural households with Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTCs) through Sustainable Surface Water Sources.

As part of the Mission Bhagiratha programme, surface treated water is supplied to all rural habitations duly providing functional tap connection to each and every house and bulk water supply to Urban Local Bodies. The project is divided into 26 segments and 34 sub-segments based on the topography, commandability, proximity and ease of connectivity from various dependable sources for providing surface treated water supply. In all, the water traverses around 2 lakh kilometers of pipeline network before reaching home. In the majority of the locations, the water is stored on nearby hillocks and supplied to households using gravity.

The project draws about 59.94 TMC from rivers Krishna and Godavari and major reservoirs fed by these rivers. The project’s target is to treat drinking water to every household at their doorstep at the rate of 100 LPCD in rural areas, 135 LPCD in Municipalities/ Nagar Panchayats and 150 LPCD in Municipal Corporations. 10% of total water is earmarked to meet the Industrial needs which in turn will create employment and catalyze economic growth.

Scale of the project
All the targeted 23,839 rural habitations are covered with treated water supply and 136 isolated habitations are covered with potable water supply through individual solar schemes. Further, 121 Urban Local Bodies (out of which 7 are partly inside ORR) are covered with bulk supply. All the targeted 57.01 Lakhs rural households in the State are provided with FHTCs. In addition to this, all the schools, anganwadis and all public institutions are provided with Functional Tap Connections.

Awards and recognitions
The prestigious project has won many laurels and awards at national and international levels.

– Housing and Urban Development Corporation Limited (HUDCO) awarded Mission Bhagiratha project thrice (2014-15, 2016-17 and 2018-19) for outstanding contribution in the infrastructure sector through innovative initiatives.

– Prime Minister Narendra Modi made special mention of Mission Bhagiratha in his ‘Mann ki Baat’ in May 2016 and applauded the efforts made by the Telangana Government in the drinking water sector.

– This project received encomium from Prime Minister, Central Ministers, MoDWS (GoI), NITI Aayog, 15th Finance Commission and other States like Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Odisha.

– Mission Bhagiratha bagged SKOCH award 2018 for Online Monitoring System and Mobile Apps developed in-house.

– It received the first prize in National water Mission Awards-2019 and Rs. 2 lakhs cash prize under the category increasing water use efficiency by 20%.

– Telangana received the first prize under Jal Jeevan Awards-2022 for showing exemplary performance in the category of ‘Regularity’ of tap water supply to rural households for the villages assessed during 2021-22.