The Jal Jeevan Mission and the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade have launched an innovation challenge to develop portable devices for water testing.

The main objective of the exercise is to develop a modular, and cost-effective solution that can be used at the household level to test the drinking water quality instantly, an official statement said on Friday. The JJM is a national mission to provide potable water on tap to every household by 2024.

Startups, individual innovators, MSMEs and corporates can participate in the innovation challenge, open till January 18. The contest would be for three types of devices— One that is capable of checking 13 water quality parameters including pH, total dissolved solids, turbidity, total alkalinity, bacterial contamination and the presence of many other material contaminants, the other will be for checking microbial contamination and the third for a device that can test one or more parameters. The results would be announced on April 1.

While there would not be any cash incentive, the selected innovations will be hand-held for further support and deployment opportunities.

Water quality testing is one of the priority areas under JJM. The aim of the innovation challenge is to ensure that water sources are tested at various locations, at different levels; thereby, helping the policy framers to design programmes which address the water contamination issues, the statement said.

Till December 23 this year, as many as 2.90 crore households have been provided tap water connections under JJM, thus increasing the tap water supply to the number of rural households from 3.23 crore (17 per cent) in August last year to 6.13 crore (32 per cent) .

People receiving piped water supply do not have any means to test the quality of water. This leads to a situation wherein, quite often, people are reluctant to consume tap water directly. People in urban areas also end up installing household water treatment units incurring additional expenditure. The challenge aims to address these issues, it added.