Quality, Standards and Testing

Water needed for human consumption, industrial purposes or other requirements must cater to certain minimum standards. The quality of any water is defined by its physical and chemical properties (characteristics). Physical properties include its appearance (colour, clarity and odour, perhaps also its taste) while the chemical properties refer to the constituents dissolved in it. Some of the physical properties are measurable and can be expressed in units of measurement while others like appearance, odour or taste are clearly subjective. However, all the chemical constituents can be measured accurately.

Drinking water must meet certain quality standards to safeguard the health of the people. The permissible and desirable limits of various parameters in drinking water have been detailed as per the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) standard specifications for potable water. These parameters are included in BIS-10500-1991. The various parameters covered include colour, odour, pH, total dissolved solids, hardness, alkalinity, elemental compounds such as iron, manganese, sulphate, nitrate, chloride, fluoride, arsenic, chromium, copper, cyanide, lead, mercury, zinc and coliform bacteria. The tolerance limits for inland surface waters for various classes of water use have been published by the Central Water Commission. Per ISI-IS: 2296-1982, the tolerance limits of parameters are specified as per classified use of water depending on various uses of water ranging from Class A to Class E.

What does the water that one drinks contain, what substances are dissolved in it and what are their safe limits? What are the issues that affect water quality? For more detailed information on all this, please read our FAQs on Rules, Regulations & Standards concerning water and Equipments used to measure water quality and quantity

Featured Articles
June 22, 2021 Nonylphenol and its ethoxylates in drinking water: A health challenge
Water treatment facilities are incapable of removing many chemical compounds and need to be upgraded (Image: PxHere)
December 2, 2019 Water stewardship is an approach predicated on the concept that water is a shared resource and so water risks are also shared risks that everyone in a catchment will face
Picture credit: Romit Sen
November 21, 2019 A report by NIUA brings to light the chinks in Jaipur's sewage system and suggests some solutions.
Routine check done by the sewage treatment plant staff in Delawas, Jaipur. The plant is part of the ADB best practices projects list. (Image: Asian Development Bank, Flickr Commons)
Activists urge Chhattisgarh CM to rethink expansion of mining in Hasdeo Arand forest
News this fortnight Posted on 20 Dec, 2021 06:52 PM

Reconsider decision to expand mining in Hasdeo Arand forest: Activists to Chhattisgarh CM

A devastated forest at a coal mining site. Photo for representation only (Image source: IWP Flickr photos)
Northeastern states witness highest rates of desertification
News this fortnight Posted on 08 Sep, 2021 09:35 PM

Desertification is accelerating in several northeastern Indian states

Loss of green cover is increasing in the country (Image source: IWP Flickr photos)
Online Water Quality Management Course
This online course on Water Quality Management (WQM) is being organized by INREM Foundation along with Water Quality Network. The course is aimed at equipping participants towards the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) program.
Posted on 26 Jul, 2021 04:58 PM
WQM
Toxic chemicals: A barrier to safe drinking water
Nonylphenol and its ethoxylates in drinking water: A health challenge Posted on 22 Jun, 2021 04:22 PM

A drinking water quality, testing, monitoring and surveillance framework was released by the Ministry of Jal Shakti in March 2021 as a part of the government’s flagship Nal se Jal scheme.

Water treatment facilities are incapable of removing many chemical compounds and need to be upgraded (Image: PxHere)
No improvement in the water quality of the Ganga during lockdown: CPCB
News this week Posted on 08 Oct, 2020 08:28 AM

Water quality of Ganga river remained grim during lockdown: CPCB

Ganga river at Kachla, Uttar Pradesh. (Source: IWP Flickr Photos)
Arghyam is looking for a Mission Leader - Partner Engagements
Arghyam is looking for a motivated, passionate and hands on leader to work with actors in the water ecosystem to enable the scale of solutions to solve water crisis in India.
Posted on 20 Aug, 2020 03:51 PM

About Arghyam 

Groundwater extraction: NGT gets strict with commercial entities
Policy matters this week Posted on 12 Aug, 2020 08:41 AM

NGT bans granting general permissions for groundwater extraction to commercial entities

NGT gets strict with commercial entities (Source: IWP Flickr album)
India-UK team tackles antimicrobial resistance spread in waterways
Experts are joining forces to investigate the impact that releasing antibiotics from antibiotic manufacturing into India’s waterways has on the spread of potentially fatal drug-resistant infections. Posted on 07 Aug, 2020 11:30 AM

An estimated 58,000 babies die in India every year from superbug infections passed on from their mothers, whilst drug-resistant pathogens cause between 28,000 to 38,000 extra deaths in the European Union every year.

The Musi river in Hyderabad, which has high concentrations of antibiotics released from production facilities (Image: Newcastle University)
Covid-19 threatens to worsen India's water crisis
Regulations for water use, innovation for treating antimicrobial resistance and monitoring of infected plastic leakage needs to be prioritised to curtail the water crisis. Posted on 24 May, 2020 12:50 AM

While the world has got a reprieve from pollution with emerging wildlife, cleaner air and clearer water bodies during lockdown, Covid-19 might actually be worsening the present water crisis in an inconspicuous manner. The world is still developing more clarity on safeguards that can prevent transmission, treatment and post treatment complications.

Marine litter. Plastic bottles on a beach. (Image: Bo Eide, Flickr Commons; CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Webinar series by India-UK Water Centre
IUKWC is hosting a brand new series of webinars, brought to you by members of our Open Network of water scientists.
Posted on 22 May, 2020 02:12 PM

Each webinar will be approximately 1 hour in length and will focus on a range of topics.

To register, please click here.

Webinar 1:

×