This report by the Water and Sanitation Management Organisation (WASMO) is based on the analysis of Multi-District Assessment of Water Safety (M-DAWS) carried out in 8 districts of Gujarat (Vadodara,Valsad, Mehsana, Gandhinagar, Kachchh, Surat, Ahmedabad and Dangs) , where ensuring adequate and safe drinking water to the people has been looked upon as a huge challenge needing urgent action during years 2007 and 2008 .
The Multi-District Assessment of Water Safety (M-DAWS) programme was undertaken by Water and Sanitation Management Organisation (WASMO) with financial and technical support from UNICEF.
The methodology involved:
- Selecting representative sampling points using a statistically-based survey
- Analysing the water quality for selected parameters
- Carrying out sanitary inspections at the selected sampling points
- Analysing the data and its relation to historical data and making conclusions and recommendations.
The study found that there were a number of physical, chemical and bacteriological parameters, which defined quality of drinking water in the M-DAWS study carried out in 8 focus districts. Broadly, water quality issues could be categorized as:
- Source related problems such as inadequacy of water resource or inherent chemical composition of water
- Behavioral aspects such as poor handling of water
- Bacteriological contamination due to human induced activities such as open defecation, free access to animals and improper disposal of water.
There was a significant rise in awareness levels among communities with respect to water quality due to various government initiatives such as distribution of field testing kits, mobile water quality campaign, pre & post monsoon surveillance, IEC activities and involving schools in monitoring water quality. However, water quality has a very fragile relationship with human interface and environment and hence requires due attention. The report identified the need for behavioral change in communities with the help of dedicated IEC to improve or maintain the quality of water.
Inter-departmental co-ordination emerged as one of the critical issues in ensuring water quality. The report thus found that linkages between water departments, rural development department, health, education, child development were crucial in maintaining quality of drinking water.
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