National Rural Drinking Water Quality

(Water quality in the rural drinking water supply)

Water Quality in the Rural Drinking Water Supply has emerged as a major issue. There was no proper emphasis on water quality till the end of the 6th five year plan and even in the seventh plan before launching the National Drinking Water Mission in 1986.

The primary objectives of the national drinking water mission set up in 1986 was to improve the performance and cost effectiveness of the on-going programmes in the field of rural drinking water supply and to ensure the availability of an adequate quantity of drinking water of acceptable quality on a long term basis.

The primary objectives of the Mission included monitoring the quality of water after identification of problems, tackling the same by the application of science and technology to ensure that the water available is of acceptable quality and ensure that the quantity and quality of water is sustainable on a long term basis by proper water management technique and implementations of management information system.

The secondary objectives of the Mission included survey of the various kinds of water sources, prevention of pollution of drinking water; and educating the public in conservation of the quantity and quality of water through awareness campaigns, community participation and health education programmes.

Drinking water problem is not only in terms of availability of quantity but also quality of the water available. Rural drinking water supply is to a large extent dependent on ground water (85%). Though ground water is less susceptible to pollution as compared to surface water, the nature quality problem in grown water is of two types: (i) It is inherent in the form of contamination caused by the very nature of geological formation, viz. excess fluoride, arsenic, brackishness, iron, etc.(ii) Ground water pollution caused by human intervention (anthropogenic) viz. nitrates. 15 percent of the rural water supply comes from surface water sources. Major quality problem for surface water is seasonal turbidity. Water also suffers from bacteriological, contamination, reasons being anthropogenic.

The reasons for chemical and bacteriological contamination are: poor hygienic conditions around the water sources, improper disposal of sewage and industrial waste water, callous disposal of solid waste, indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizes having high quantity of nitrates used in the agricultural sector, pollution from industrial effluents (untreated), over-exploitation leading to quality degradation, pollution of the source due to ignorance of the people, over- population and lack of public awareness.


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