Now, Jal Shakti Ministry focuses on quality of water

New Delhi: In a move aimed at providing quality drinking water, the Ministry of Jal Shakti on Saturday launched a framework and guidelines for testing, monitoring and surveillance of drinking water quality as well as a Water Quality Information Management System (WQMIS), which is an online portal that provides detailed information on laboratories for this purpose.

The guidelines, which have been prepared in consultation with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), specify work to be done in terms of surveillance and monitoring at the state, district, block/tehsil and village levels.

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, e.coil or thermo-tolerant coliform bacteria.

While launching the guidelines, Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat told reporters that the aim of the Jal Jeevan Mission is to provide functional tap water connections by 2024 to all rural households and water quality is an important aspect of it.

The total cost of the Jal Jeevan Mission is Rs 3.60 lakh crore and 2 per cent of it has been dedicated to the quality of water, he said.

According to a 2018 assessment by the Central Ground Water Board, 52 per cent of all the blocks in the country have inter alia any one of the geogenic contaminants like arsenic, chloride, fluoride, iron, nitrate and salinity.

Nearly 20 states in India have drinking water source contaminated with arsenic, fluoride, nitrate, iron, salinity or heavy metals.

Apart from these, there are 61 priority districts across five states identified by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare which are affected by Japanese Encephalitis –Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (JE-AES).

Present on the occasion, Bharat Lal, Additional Secretary and Mission Director of National Jeevan Mission, said that the purpose of the exercise is to instil a sense of confidence about water quality and people can also test water quality.

"A database of 2,200 laboratories across the country has been prepared so that water quality can be tested. All the laboratories have been accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories,"

he said.

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