In order to create awareness in the wake of increasing water scarcity, over 22 lakh students of government upper primary schools in Gujarat undertook a massive water budgeting exercise called Gharna Pani Nu Budget in rural areas across the state. The week-long campaign, organised by the state water supply department, involved students from Class VI and VIII across districts who undertook the water budget of their houses during their Diwali vacation towards the end of October last year.
The exercise was carried out through a form filled by students in which they were asked to estimate the water budget of their households, comparing the total water supply and consumption. The assignments received from the students will be compiled into a report by the state government.
Noman Momeen, a Class VIII student of Telav Primary School in Sanand taluka of Ahmedabad district, was chosen as the state “water ambassador” by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani during World Water Day (March 22) celebrations in Gandhinagar. He would be trained to act as an “agent of change” in his community and schools. He was chosen among the three best selected projects from Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad and Patan districts from among more than 22 lakh students from 22,277 government primary schools in 33 districts under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).
At the end of this module, the students were asked to fill in whether the water supply in their house was “more than the demand, sufficient or less”. They were also asked about the details of water storage facilities at their homes like overhead, underground or an open tank.
“It is merely for the awareness purpose. Considering children as one of the primary stakeholders in bringing awareness and social behavioral change among community towards water usage and its wastage, the Water Supply Department decided to involve children as the fulcrum for this campaign wherein the students will perform household water budgeting exercise in villages,” said J P Gupta, principal secretary, water supply department.
The State Water and Sanitation Management Organisation (WASMO) worked as the implementing agency and UNICEF provided technical support during the campaign. Authorities claim that the government schools in rural areas of each district were also roped in to prepare “Gharna Pani Nu Budget”. During the campaign, panel discussions and expert talks were telacast through Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics (BISAG).