1.11 lakh of 13 lakh drinking water samples were contaminated

PTI New Delhi | Updated on October 16, 2021

Water testing initiative was started under the Jal Jeevan Mission

More than 1.11 lakh of the 13 lakh drinking water samples tested across the country under a government programme have been found contaminated, according to official data.

The samples were taken by the government’s drinking water testing and surveillance programme.

Various contamination sources

The contamination of samples includes that from naturally occurring chemicals and minerals such as arsenic, fluoride, iron and uranium in the earth layer, and local land use practices like fertilisers, pesticides, livestock and concentrated feeding operations, the data under the Jal Shakti Ministry programme stated.

It also said that contaminations can introduced by manufacturing processes like heavy metals or cyanide near drinking water sources.

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Water contamination includes malfunctioning on-site wastewater treatment systems such as septic systems and twin pit toilets, and microbial contamination through mixing of waste water in drinking water source or distribution lines, the Ministry said.

In addition, drinking water that is not properly treated or that travels through an improperly maintained distribution system may also create conditions that increase the risk of contamination, it said.

Field test kits

Out of the 13,17,028 samples tested in laboratories, 1,11,474 were found contaminated, according to the data.

If a water sample fails quality test, authorities can be informed online and they can check if any action has been taken, an official said.

The testing of water samples is being done across 2,011 active laboratories, and water from 2,05,941 villages has been tested till now, according to Ministry data.

The government has also started water quality surveillance using field test kits (FTKs) under which five women from every village are trained in water quality surveillance to lead these activities in their village, the Ministry said.

Data stated that 7,39,362 users have been trained for testing water samples using FTKs, 6,27,752 samples have been tested across 32,697 villages, and 22,518 contaminated samples have been found.

Online portal

The Ministry in March had launched a framework and guidelines for testing, monitoring and surveillance of drinking water quality, as well as a water quality information management system (WQMIS) — an online portal that provides detailed information on laboratories.

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The basic water quality parameters prescribed under the guidelines are pH value, total dissolved solids, turbidity, chloride, total alkalinity, total hardness, sulphate, iron, total arsenic, fluoride, nitrate, total coliform bacteria, and e.coli or thermo-tolerant coliform bacteria, the Ministry said.

The initiative was started under the Jal Jeevan Mission which aims to provide safe and adequate drinking water through individual household tap connections by 2024 to all households in rural India.

Published on October 16, 2021

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