Surveillance of drinking water quality - safe water Initiative - A presentation

This presentation by Dr.Nanoti explains the method and importance of regular monitoring of drinking water quality in urban areas.

This presentation by Dr.Nanoti at the 'International Conference on Health and Environment' organised by Centre for Science and Environment  explains the method and importance of regular monitoring of drinking water quality in urban areas.

The presentation begins with the argument that managers of urban water supply systems stand to benefit from the fresh perspective offered by an external assessor.

Urban water supply: problems of a common nature: The speaker then elaborates on the various problems that are commonly met with in urban areas. These can be grouped as follows:

  • Resource constraints and demand pressure: This group includes the various factors that contribute to increased demand and reduced supply such as rapid urbanization and degraded environment.
  • Design and O&M: This group includes the various factors that combine to make a functional water supply, treatment and distribution system.
  • Management and revenues: This covers such diverse topics such as policy, fiscal reforms, private sector participation, community involvement, etc

These problems impact equitable access to services, satisfactory facilities and community health.

Surveillance of drinking water quality:

The aims of this initiative are as follows:

  • Assessment of the present status of surveillance of drinking water quality
  • Identification of any deficiencies in the existing system and suggestion of remedial measures
  • Action plan for improving surveillance
  • Preparation of guidelines for initiating suitable measures for surveillance
  • Improvement of water supply system

Dr.Nanoti then elaborates on the basis of the surveillance programme. It includes the assessment of water quality (from source to consumer), leak detection, infrastructure, personnel and finances. Its scope includes action against health risks, institutional reforms, legal framework and community participation.

The cities which have been identified for this program are also listed:

  • Northern region: Allahabad, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Faridabad, Indore, Patiala, Shimla, Srinagar, Udaipur Varanasi, Agra, Delhi, Jammu
  • Eastern region: Bhubaneshwar, Durgapur, Gangtok, Guwahati, Patna, Puri, Ranchi, Raipur, Shillong, Kolkata
  •  Southern region:Bangalore, Coimbatore, Kochi, Vishakhapatnam, Chennai, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram
  •  Western region: Surat, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mumbai, Nagpur 

The methodology of the surveillance programme is also explained in detail by means of an organizational chart. The surveillance requires obtaining two kinds of information sets: secondary and primary. Both these sets have their own methodology for collection, which is detailed in the presentation. The physico-chemical and bacteriological parameters that are evaluated are listed. A detailed plan is drawn up for monitoring water quality at each stage of the sourcing, treatment and distribution process. Sampling locations, frequency and parameters are given in a flowchart.

The presentation also provides some data on urban water supply for the cities in the surveillance programme. These data charts include:

  • Population served by organised water supply
  • Total daily water supply (in MLD)
  • Design and installed capacity of water treatment plants
  • Number and type of water sources for organised water supply
  • Daily extraction of ground water (in MLD)
  • Quantity of water supply based on 100% population coverage (in LPCD)
  • Laboratory facilities available at treatment plant and central level in the cities
  • Average hours of organised water supply
  • Surveillance of drinking water quality programme
  • Leak detection programme
  • Annual financial aspects (expenditure, water charges)

Several slides illustrate good and bad practices in treatment plants in various cities. The membership of the committee for surveillance of drinking water quality is listed for reference.




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