Punjab government has chalked out a policy draft to prevent deaths and sickness resulting from water-borne diseases by providing clean potable water for the masses in an equitable, efficient, and sustainable manner.
The policy draft recognizes the availability of safe drinking water as a fundamental right of the people of the province as per Article 9 of the Constitution of Pakistan. The policy pivots on equitable access to water. It plans to address all kinds of hurdles for accessing safe drinking water.
The policy prioritizes water usage for drinking purposes over other uses like industry, agriculture, etc. It also mentions proper resource allocation for a safely managed drinking water service while assigning the responsibility of these services to local bodies.
The draft also maintains that the development and adoption of cost-effective, easy-to-operate technologies will be encouraged. Regarding that, the government will seek a multi-sectoral approach and will take on board different government departments and other stakeholders.
The policy aims to be more inclusive by engaging women and other vulnerable groups in the planning, implementation, monitoring, operation, and maintenance of safely managed water services.
It reinforces the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a key emphasis on SDG-6, i.e., water and sanitation for all. The objectives and targets set out under the policy maintain that the government intends to materialize universal coverage and access to safely managed drinking services all over the province in accordance with the SDGs by 2030.
Moreover, the government has set out a target to ensure a transfer of minimum 30 percent of local development funds to local councils for intervention relating to WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene).
Another objective of the policy draft is to spread public awareness about water-related and water-borne diseases (including polio), hygiene and nutrition, and water safety including safe water treatment and storage.
Another target for 2022 is the setting up and institution of the capacity development standards and initiatives for the implementation, operation, and maintenance of safely managed water services.
The policy targets that by 2025, the development and implementation mechanisms for reuse, recycle, and recharge of the wastewater for other municipal and productive uses in all major cities and towns.