Water Quality Standards In India

by | Dec 20, 2023

water quality standards in india

Everybody has a right to clean water that is safe to drink since it is essential in preserving life. Unfortunately, water nowadays is very polluted and presents a lot of dangers for public safety. 

Approximately 163 million people in India do not have easy access to clean water near their homes. 

In rural India, women and children usually collect the water for their families. They walk miles everyday to a water source, which may be unprotected and likely to make them sick.

As a result, Indians frequently depend on untreated surface water or distant water sources. Although the government is taking several steps to improve the situation, it is time for us to wake up.

Various Water Standards in India

Following is a table depicting the detailed water quality criteria as per the Central Pollution Control Board:

Designated-Best-UseClass of waterCriteria
Drinking WaterSource without conventional treatment but after disinfectionATotal Coliforms Organism MPN/100ml shall be 50 or lesspH between 6.5 and 8.5Dissolved Oxygen 6mg/l or moreBiochemical Oxygen Demand 5 days 20C 2mg/l or less
Outdoor bathing (Organised)BTotal Coliforms Organism MPN/100ml shall be 5000 or less pH between 6 to 9 Dissolved Oxygen 4mg/l or more biochemical Oxygen Demand 5 days 20C 3mg/l or less
Drinking water source after conventional treatment and disinfectionCTotal Coliforms Organism MPN/100ml shall be 5000 or less pH between 6 to 9 Dissolved Oxygen 4mg/l or moreBiochemical Oxygen Demand 5 days 20C 3mg/l or less
Propagation of Wildlife and FisheriesDpH between 6.5 to 8.5 Dissolved Oxygen 4mg/l or moreFree Ammonia (as N) 1.2 mg/l or less
Irrigation, Industrial Cooling, Controlled Waste disposalEpH between 6.0 to 8.5Electrical Conductivity at 25C micromhos/cm Max.2250Sodium absorption Ratio Max. 26Boron Max. 2mg/l
Below-ENot Meeting A, B, C, D & E Criteria
CC: Central Pollution Control Board

The Indian government and its BIS have set strict drinking water quality standards to protect the people. 

Timely tests of drinking water sources are imperative to ensure safe standards. Water should be assessed against set limits. If it fails to meet those standards, the cause of contamination must be determined, and action must be taken.

India’s National Water Policy was introduced in 1987. It was revised in 2002 and 2012. It seeks to evaluate how far people are in terms of accessing or having water and then outlines various measures that might span over a long period.

Water Quality Evaluation In India

The Bis (Bureau of Indian Standards) water quality report offers an extensive evaluation of the various parameters defining the safety and purity of drinking water in India. This survey takes note of factors according to the quality standards to ensure public safety. Here’s a detailed view of the BIS water quality report:

Parameters Evaluated:

1. Physical Characteristics:

Turbidity: Measures water clarity, indicating suspended particles.

Colour: Determines the visual appearance, indicating potential contaminants.

Odor and Taste: Assessing for any unusual or off-putting qualities in the water.

2. Chemical Composition:

pH Level: Indicates water acidity or alkalinity.

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS): Measures minerals, salts, and metals dissolved in water.

Heavy Metals: Including lead, arsenic, and mercury, posing severe health risks.

Chlorine and Chloride: Presence indicates disinfection or salinity concerns.

3. Biological Contaminants:

Bacteria and Pathogens: Testing for coliforms, E. coli, and other disease-causing microbes.

Viruses: Assessing the presence of viral contaminants.

Protozoa and Parasites: Including Giardia and Cryptosporidium.

Evaluation Criteria and Standards:

The report aligns with BIS standards for drinking water, ensuring safety and quality:

  • IS 10500: Setting permissible limits for various parameters to guarantee safe drinking water.
  • WHO Guidelines: Conforming to global benchmarks established by the World Health Organization.

Significance of the Report:

1. Public Health Safeguarding:

Identifies potential health hazards posed by waterborne contaminants.

Assists public authorities to ensure water safety.

2. Compliance and Regulation:

Ensures quality control in line with the set standards.

Helps elected representatives in formulating water quality regulations and improvements.

Recommendations and Remediation:

Various measures that the report points out are:

  • Treatment Solutions:  Multiple solutions may be suggested depending on the requirement, like: filtration, disinfection, or purification
  • Infrastructure Enhancement: Upgrading water treatment facilities or distribution networks.
  • Public Awareness: Educating communities about safe water practices.

What Does Water Quality Data Tell Us?

Water quality monitoring data is available from BIS. The information gathered is highly important to the analysis of water quality and its sources in India. This data is very specific about various aspects such as

  1. The presence of microorganisms
  2. The chemical makeup
  3. The levels of contaminants found

The BIS water quality data allows politicians to perceive likely health dangers. It ensures that pollutants are identified and corrective measures taken for purposes of enhancing the quality of water. In this way, we will be in a position to make good choices about how to employ BIS water quality monitoring data.

Contamination of city water sources creates health concerns for citizens. Quality of water is different among urban areas and within areas of cities. Some places might boast of better systems of water treatment. Some people may have an even harder time cleaning their dirty water.

It is common for water quality problems, especially in most of the cities in India. These issues include pollution, old infrastructure, industrial waste, and poor waste disposal. Though they seem to be gigantic, these issues can be easily addressed using accurate water quality data and efficient policy-making.

Improving Water Quality As A Society

The will of the society is necessary to improve the quality of our water. When an entire community puts efforts towards a goal, it can be easily achieved. Water quality in India will drastically improve if we the people decide to take a step together.

Contamination detection and removal should take place in every single neighbourhood of the nation. The safety of the drinking water depends on this. It can be done well through a water safety plan. 

The Indian government has dedicated funds toward monitoring and surveillance of water quality through NRDWP. This is a step towards recognizing the importance of safe drinking water provision. It also provides minimal infrastructure prerequisites, which include:

  1. Space
  2. Required workforce
  3. Instrumentation,
  4. Sample points
  5. Sample processing methods

Enhancing and setting up laboratories are imperative for assured safe drinking water.

How To Get Safe Drinking Water?

Ensuring safe drinking water at home in an Indian context involves several methods and precautions. Here are some suggestions:

1. Boiling Water:

Boiling water is an effective way to kill most pathogens. Bring water to a rolling boil for at least one minute to make it safe for drinking. Allow it to cool before consuming.

2. Water Purifiers:

Invest in a good quality water purifier or filter. There are various types available such as:

1. RO (Reverse Osmosis) Purifiers: 

Effective in removing dissolved salts, heavy metals, and microbial contaminants.

2. UV (Ultraviolet) Purifiers: 

Utilize UV rays to kill bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms.

3. UF (Ultrafiltration) Purifiers: 

Remove bacteria, viruses, and cysts.

3. Chlorination:

Chlorine tablets or liquid chlorine can be used to disinfect water. Follow instructions properly to ensure safe usage and adequate disinfection.

4. Ceramic Filters:

Ceramic filters are efficient in removing bacteria, protozoa, and other contaminants. They can be used in conjunction with other filtration methods for added safety.

5. Use of Copper Vessels:

Storing water in copper vessels overnight is a traditional method believed to have antimicrobial properties. However, ensure the copper vessels are clean and properly maintained.

6. Regular Cleaning and Maintenance:

Regular cleaning and maintenance of your water pots and all other vessels used to store water is necessary to ensure a healthy water supply.

Water Purifiers The Saviours

Installing an RO (Reverse Osmosis) water purifier remains the most effective method to get clean drinking water. RO purifiers use many purification methods to remove every single impurity. 

An RO purifier quickly negates waterborne diseases among almost all other impurities. 

Concerns about water wastage can be mitigated by opting for RO purifiers that reduce wastage compared to conventional models. The small amount of wasted water can be repurposed for household use. 

Providing safe drinking water in India will require a collaborative effort. The three critical elements to ensure water quality are:

  1. Setting high standards of monitoring.
  2. Sophisticated water treatment methods.
  3. Proper distribution among the population.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 5 water quality standards?

The five water quality parameters are: tests for pH
1. biological oxygen demand (BOD)
2. suspended solids (SS)
3. dissolved oxygen (DO)
4. total coliform bacteria

 What is the water quality in India?

The CWMI by Niti Aayog at the national level has indicated that about seventy percent of all water sources in India are polluted. However, according to WaterAid’s water quality Index, India ranks 120^{th} among 122 countries globally.

What is TDS in water?

TDS means Total Dissolved Solids, the overall concentration of whatever is dissolved in drinking water. It includes inorganic salts and some little organic substances.

Bhuwan Bhatia

Bhuwan Bhatia

Bhuwan Bhatia, an engineering graduate with a diverse background, has been passionate about entrepreneurship since age 13. Founder of edtech startup Technoshaala, Bhuwan now focuses on leading his innovative water management startup, FLOTAA, in Kanpur to create sustainable solutions.
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