Access to safe water is no less than a challenge in India. The data recovered from NSSO shows that only one in every five ménage have access to piped water connections in the country. Rural areas still face problems getting safe drinking water and lag in access to piped water compared to urban areas. Around 58.3% of households are still dependent on hand pumps, tube wells, public taps, piped water from neighbors and protected or unprotected wells.
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Source: Financial Express
As high as 48.6% of rural homes and 28% of urban households have to survive without access to an improved source of drinking water. Similarly, 11.3% of households do not get sufficient drinking water from their primary sources throughout the year. The recently collected data shows that access to drinking water from improved sources has increased in the 22 states surveyed compared to previous data. Rural areas continue to lag as compared to urban areas in terms of access to safe drinking water.
How does drinking water get contaminated?
Water sources get polluted because of a range of harmful contaminants that get released from houses or industrial outlets. The common impurities occurring in drinking water are described as:
Inorganic contaminants include metals such as fluoride, lead, copper, mercury, etc., that can get into drinking water and pollute it (surface and groundwater) from natural sources and industrial processes.
Organic contaminants include pesticides, untreated domestic waste, industrial waste, etc., that can flow into rivers, lakes, ponds, and even groundwater. Organic waste materials through contaminated water can cause serious health problems like cancer and hormonal disruptions, which can prove to be fatal.
Biological contaminants include the presence of living microorganisms, such as fungi, algae, bacteria, protozoa, or viruses in the water. This leads to a range of health problems among humans. Diseases like cancer and arsenic can affect.
Water gets tested in official water quality testing laboratories in India. For example, around 2,233 drinking water testing laboratories exist in our country, of which only 54 are officially taken care of by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL). Of these, around 19 are state laboratories, whereas the remaining 35 are district laboratories.
Who ensures access to safe water in the country?
It is the state responsibility to ensure a safe water supply and sanitation. The state-level agency is the head of planning and investment, while the local government is responsible for the smooth functioning of the operation and its maintenance. The private sector has recently started playing a role in the water contamination operation and helps maintain urban water systems on behalf of ULBs.
Service provision in some states is responsible for the process of being partially transferred from State Water Boards and district governments to Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI) at the block or village level. Presently, the state’s plans and designs water supply schemes through their State Departments (of Public Health Engineering or Rural Development Engineering) or State Water Boards.
What is the scenario in the consumption of water?
Water is a necessity for the proper functioning of the human body. The human body is made up of 60% water and only blood consists of 90% water. Oxygen is carried by the water to different parts of the body through the blood. It keeps the skin healthy, regulates body temperature, helps in proper digestion, flushes out waste, helps maintain blood pressure, and dissolves vital minerals and nutrients in the body. It is said to drink a maximum of 12 glasses of water a day.
The results of a large-scale survey conducted across India in 2019 state: teens of 19 years and below drank about 2.39 litres of water on average every day. The recommended amount of water intake to stay hydrated is a minimum of two litres every day. The water consumption at an average in domestic households for all these seven cities is about 92 lpcd. The highest water consumption is in Kolkata (116 lpcd), followed by Hyderabad (96 lpcd), Ahmedabad (95 lpcd), Mumbai (90 lpcd), Madurai (88 lpcd), Delhi (78 lpcd), and Kanpur (77 lpcd).
The government has been developing ways to address this growing safe water crisis. Over the last few years, it has worked on groundwater projects, like recharging, micro-irrigation, and legislative changes to promote better water management. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also announced a few schemes and plans to provide piped potable water to every rural household by 2024. In the last year, The Jal Jeevan Mission has served 20 million families with clean water.
The private sector is also launching new water purification technologies like smart water purifiers. Auto-maintenance systems are creating the way to a better future. The introduction of new techniques of water purification by Indian startups is showing the ray of hope to solve this problem. IoT technology with real-time tracking of input water quality, water consumption, and filter use is being tracked, ensuring hygienic water for drinking.
Will all these ventures solve India's water crisis soon? Probably yes. These are small but effective measures towards an eventual solution. The goal is to achieve safe and non-polluted water in the coming years. If we stay engaged and productive to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030, we can make India a better country. Waaree Energies Ltd. is a perfect example of innovation and intelligence, as they produce solar products which are very sustainable while striving to ensure purified water through their solar water pumps.
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