Water Quality Monitoring & Surveillance Programme
The National Rural Drinking Water Quality Monitoring & Surveillance Programme was launched in February 2006 (2005-06) with the prime objective of institutionalization of community participation and involvement of PRIs for water quality monitoring & surveillance of all drinking water sources. As drinking water quality monitoring, and quality surveillance are two distinct but closely related activities, requiring drinking water quality monitoring by suppliers of the drinking water and surveillance by the Health authorities, close collaboration is required between drinking water supply agencies and Health authorities all over the country.
The indiscriminate over-drawal has changed the hydro-geo-chemical environments of the aquifers and in general enhanced toxic and undesirable chemical constituents of water beyond the permissible limit viz. fluoride, arsenic, TDS, nitrate etc. with direct health implications leading to manifestations of various diseases. Climate change is also affecting water resources in all countries resulting in increase in diseases such as cholera, typhoid, malaria and dengue which are basically sanitation and water related diseases. Excess fluoride and arsenic in ground water drinking sources has given rise to crippling and incurable diseases like fluorosis and arsenical dermatitis. The indiscriminate use of fertilizers and insecticides along with unscientific usage of single pit latrine and indiscriminate disposal of domestic waste water, have further contributed to the deterioration of groundwater quality. Water is defined as safe if it is free from biological contamination (guinea worm, cholera, typhoid etc.) and within permissible limits of chemical contamination ( arsenic 0.05 mg/l, fluoride 1.5 mg/l, brackishness 2000 mg/l, iron 1 mg/l , nitrate 45 mg/l etc.) as per IS-10500 standard of BIS. An Implementation Manual on National Rural Drinking Water Quality Monitoring & Surveillance Programme was prepared through All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, and circulated to all State Governments in January 2004.
Water Quality was accorded high priority in the Mission. Parameters and safety standards on water quality have clearly been laid down, not only in the Mission document, but also in the Manual for drinking water supply and the health standards. A regular programme for WQM&S - an important priority in the Mission, was launched by initially setting up State and District level water quality testing laboratories with the ultimate aim to provide safe drinking water and generate awareness about water quality among rural masses.
With the launching of Water Mission, many States desired to strengthen their existing lab facilities in terms of meeting the additional requirement of water quality testing and induction of modern equipment for these labs.
induction of modern equipment for these labs. Government of India sanctioned 430 district level laboratories out of which 252 have been established till date. State Governments and other organizations have established 158 labs making a total of 410 labs in existence till date. It was proposed to provide one laboratory in each district of the country. Twenty-two mobile laboratories have also been provided to various States. Initially, 85 stationary district level labs and 15 mobile labs were set up. Preference was given to Mini-Mission districts for locating these labs.