Punjab Water Supply & Sanitation Department (earlier known as Public Health Department) is primarily entrusted with the responsibility of providing safe drinking water to the Rural Population, execution of Sanitation works apart from the Water Supply, Sewerage, Sanitation, Air Conditioning & Fire Fighting in Govt. Institutions & four Historical towns namely Anandpur Sahib, Fatehgarh Sahib, Faridkot & Muktsar . Policy on Rural Drinking Water programme aims to provide every rural person with adequate water for drinking, cooking and other domestic needs on a sustainable basis.
Department of Water Supply and Sanitation was initially known a Public Health Branch of PWD which came into existence in the year 1956. Prior to that it was functioning as a part of Building and Roads Branch. The department was responsible for all types of Public Health Engineering Works viz. Water Supply and Sanitary installation in Government Buildings/Institutions and Public Health Engineering works in Urban Estate, grain markets etc.
In the year 1975, functions of Punjab PWD(Public Health Branch) were vertically split up into three wings viz. Govt. Works, Rural Water Supply Works and Works of Local Body department. The Govt. Works Wing was responsible for Public Health Works in all Govt. buildings, Urban Estate, Harijan Basties and grain markets etc. Rural Water Supply Wing was responsible for design, construction and maintenance of Rural Water Supply Schemes whereas Local Bodies Wing was responsible for the provision of water supply and sewerage in Municipal Areas. On 1st January 1977, Local Body Works Wing was converted into a Board and named as Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board.
Subsequently Public Health department was restructured by creating two Rural Water Supply Wings i.e. RWS (South) & RWS (North) and one Govt. Works Wing. At the Secretariat Level Department was under the Administrative Control of Principal Secretary to Govt. Punjab Department of Public Health.
The works of the Rural Water Supply wing and Govt. works wing were merged at the level of Superintending Engineer in May, 2003. Accordingly, the Rural Water Supply Divisions and Govt. works Divisions worked under one Superintending Engineer and the wings of the department were named as WSS (South), WSS (North) and WSS (Central) headed by three Chief Engineers. The name of the Public Health Department was changed to Department of Water Supply and Sanitation in the year 2004.
Recently on 31-08-09, the existing Rural Water & Govt. Works wings at the level of Divisional / Sub Divisional offices have been restructured and further reorganized to achieve the following objectives:
- Optimum utilization of available manpower.
- To ensure better implementation and closer supervision of Water Supply Schemes through even distribution of work amongst various divisions.
- To enhance efficiency of the department and to bring visible improvement in the quality of Operation and Maintenance of schemes.
Now after the above restructuring/reorganization of the department, the Rural Water Supply (RWS) and Govt. Works (GW) wings of the department have been merged completely and the area of jurisdictions of the offices of Divisions / Sub Divisions has also been earmarked.