The article informs that access to safe drinking water remains an urgent necessity, as 30% of urban and 90% of rural households still depend completely on untreated surface or groundwater.
While access to drinking water in India has increased over the past decade, the tremendous adverse impact of unsafe water on health continues. It is estimated that about 21% of communicable diseases in India are water related.
Although some degree of intervention in terms of chlorination and monitoring of water quality exists in major cities and towns, rural India, which constitutes the bulk (70%) of the population, is usually deprived of such interventions. The population in rural India is mainly dependent on the groundwater as a source of drinking water. As a quality concern the groundwater is often found to be contaminated with fluoride, arsenic, iron and salts. In recent years, fluorosis has emerged as major public health issue in rural India.
The paper informs that monitoring groundwater quality remains a prime concern and a major challenge in rural India considering the geographical spread of Indian villages and the fact that many of the remote villages are not accessible to regular monitoring by central agencies due to transportation and communication problems. Hence it is the rural population that suffers the most from problems related to fluoride, arsenic as well as microbial contamination.
No system has yet been devised or put in place that is able to consolidate the water quality data generated by district laboratories to convey meaningful village/source level information on water quality at the national level.
Although the burden of diarrhoeal disease resulting from inadequate water quality, sanitation practice and hygiene remains high, there is little understanding of the integration of these environmental control strategies. At present, the central and state agencies promote chlorine bleach (bleaching powder) for disinfection of community water sources, including wells on an ad-hoc basis and therefore, no guidelines have been adopted for regulating dosage and contact time of chlorination.
The paper suggests that :
Download the paper here