Safe Drinking Water Guidelines in India

Getting clean and safe drinking water is the right of every citizen. Unfortunately, the natural resource that helps in sustaining lives on Earth, is dangerously contaminated. A report by NSO suggests that two-thirds of Indian homes drink unsafe and untreated water. Only 8% of the household boil water before drinking, which is not a very efficient way of removing contaminants. According to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) every country needs to achieve this goal by 2030. Considering this, the Bureau of Indian Standard has designed a specific guideline for safe drinking water. However, a recent report showed that 13 metros receive contaminated water.

safe drinking water guidelines in india

Standard For Safe Drinking Water

The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has specified drinking water quality standards in India to provide safe drinking water to the people. It is pertinent that drinking water sources be tested at regular intervals and ensure that water is meeting the prescribed standards or not, if not, then, the extent of contamination/unacceptability and follow up required.

Another guideline for water quality is prescribed by Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India in 2005. This is known as the Uniform Protocol for Water Quality Monitoring. The increasing risk of geogenic and anthropogenic contamination has led to necessitate the above.

A Detailed View of the Report

A recent water quality test conducted by BIS showed that 13 cities have the most unsafe water. Delhi’s tap water is the most unsafe among cities from where the samples were taken. A water quality report by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) showed the national capital is at the bottom of the list. The water samples of 13 cities were tested which include Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Jaipur and Lucknow. All the cities failed the water quality test. In fact, Mumbai is the only city where the samples of tap water met all the parameters under Indian Standard 10500:2012, which is the specification for drinking water so far.

BIS Standards Set for drinking water quality

According to the Central Ground Water Board, BIS (IS_10500 and revised module IS 10500:2012) has specifications in Uniform Drinking Water Quality Monitoring Protocol. This standard has two limits i.e. acceptable limits and permissible limits in the absence of an alternate source. If any parameter exceeds the limit, the water is considered unfit for human consumption.

In broad terms, if the water is bacteriology contaminated (E-coli and viruses etc), or if chemical contamination exceeds maximum permissible limits, the BIS considers that water unfit for drinking.

Together We Can offer the latest drinking water specifications as per the BIS. According to BIS 1500-2012 the acceptable limit of bacteria and other major contamination are as follows:

Test parameter Acceptable limit Permissible limit

(In the absence of alternate source of water)

pH value 6.5-8.5 No relaxation
Turbidity 1 5
Total hardness as CaCo3, mg/l, Max 200 600
E.coli presence/absence Shall not be detectable in any 100ml sample Shall not be detectable in any 100ml sample
Total iron as Fe, mg/l, Max 0.3 No relaxation
Taste Agreeable Agreeable
Odour Agreeable Agreeable

Ministry Of Drinking Water And Sanitation had published in 2013 that more than 85% of rural households have access to drinking water within or near their premises. As this figure might indicate a better scenario than the UN report of 1975; we need to give greater emphasis to providing safe drinking water on a continuous basis.

BIS standard for safe drinking water in India

Provision of safe drinking water keeping in mind health protection has more relevance in rural India from the point of view of chemical and microbial risk. The most effective means of ensuring safe drinking water is through the use of water safety plan which effectively utilizes water quality data in planning preventive and corrective actions. The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India had a few years back evolved the Uniform Drinking Water Quality Monitoring Protocol with emphasis on water quality and safety. This protocol encompasses various laboratory management practises ensuring scientifically correct interventions to improve water quality.

Keeping in mind the importance of ensuring drinking water quality, the Government of India has earmarked 3% of state allocation of National Rural Drinking Water Program (NRDWP) for water quality monitoring and surveillance. This protocol acts as a guidance system on aspects like minimum infrastructure required for building space, manpower, instrumentation, sampling and testing procedures etc. This will feed the prevalent urgent need to strengthen and set up laboratories so that quality of drinking water is ensured.

Ways to Get Safe Drinking Water

The only way to get safe drinking water is by installing a water purifier. Though electric purifiers have become quite common, only a few homes have installed water purifiers. Approximately 8.7 per cent of the households in India have electric water purifier and only 20.8 per cent urban households have electric water purifiers. When it comes to Delhi, only 36.5 per cent of the households use electric water purifiers. Boiling water, which is a common way of purifying water in most of the households doesn’t remove all the impurities. A lot of suspended impurities, chemicals and microorganisms can’t be removed by boiling.

How can Water Purifiers Help?

The only way to ensure that you get clean drinking water is by installing an RO water purifier. The water purifiers use different stages of purification process to remove impurities such as bacteria, viruses, salts, chemicals and other impurities. Using an RO purifier is the only way to stay safe from waterborne diseases, which is one of the largest killers in India. If you are worried about the water wastage, opt for RO purifiers that reduce wastage as compared to conventional RO purifiers. The small amount of water that’s wasted can be used for household purposes. Visit KENT website to find out more about RO water purifiers.

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