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Water security, as an integral component of sustainable development, has always been largely a
governance challenge. Although India has emerged as a top‐ranking nation in terms of water
sector investments, outcomes have been poor as a result of significant slippages; one of the key
factors being the unsustainability of water sources. Poor governance that has resulted in weak
convergence at policy, programme and institutional levels, has consistently undermined efforts
towards achieving water safety and security. The programmes have also shied away from
addressing the deep‐rooted, perverse incentives like subsidy‐induced over extraction and
underlying institutional factors resisting change. The watershed management programmes have
also generated issues of riparian rights, inequity and competing water use in the context of
archaic legislation and a weak regulatory framework.

The Government of India (GoI), as part of its initiatives in operationalising it's National Rural
Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) 2010 guidelines (GoI, 2010), have identified ten districts
in different agro‐climatic zones to pilot the concept of village water security. However, the
programme is partially complete as the focus is confined only to 'drinking water security' and
does not address the critical factors of sustainable convergence and governance.

The proposal is to pilot test and demonstrate a comprehensive and sustainable water security
programme through a bottom‐up and adaptive planning process by bringing together
governance and capacity building. The programme plans to strengthen the water sector
governance framework in operationalising the Draft National Water Policy, 2012 and the 2010
NRDWP guidelines, by providing local solutions to the global concerns of climate change
adaptability.

TitleWater security and governance in India: key to sustainable WASH services at scale forever
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