Rajasthan ranks low on drinking water supply for villages, says Niti Aayog

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With only 44 per cent of its rural habitations fully covered by drinking water supply, Rajasthan ranks low in a recent Niti Aayog report.

The Niti Aayog has asked the state to improve the access rate and the quality of drinking water in rural habitations while lauding its efforts in surface water restoration and participatory irrigation.

The report, which includes a composite water management index, said there has been no improvement in water quality - in terms of contamination by arsenic and fluoride - in 2016-17 compared to the previous financial year.

Despite the challenges in the water-scarce state, the state government is working on various public welfare water projects, Public Health Engineering and Groundwater Minister Surendra Goyal told PTI.

We will be spending close to Rs 200 billion on projects to make surface water available to the people in rural and urban areas, he said.

The minister said 90 per cent of the country's brackish water and 50 per cent of its fluoridated water is found in Rajasthan, so providing safe water was a time-consuming challenge.

Niti Aayog has appreciated Rajasthan's efforts in restoring 80 per cent of the irrigation potential of identified water bodies, largely through community-managed ponds and tanks.

Rajasthan has also improved its score on participatory irrigation and source restoration.

The report said it has emerged as a leader in participatory irrigation with 75 per cent of irrigated areas having water users' associations involved in operating the system.

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