Water Quality Monitoring and Surveillance
Water testing is important for monitoring the Woperation of water supply, verification of the safety of drinking water, investigation of disease outbreaks, validation process and preventive measures. Water quality testing tools need to be used for deciding safety of drinking water: at the source; within a piped distribution system; or at the end of consumer.
Drinking water quality monitoring and water quality surveillance are distinct yet, closely related activities. The drinking water quality will be monitored by the PHED/ RWS Department, i.e. supplier/ agency responsible/ mandate for water quality whereas the surveillance of water quality at grass roots will be responsibility of the GPs/ rural community.
Frequency of testing
The broad guidelines for undertaking testing of sources/ samples at different level:-
i.) Sub-division/ block laboratory: It is suggested that Sub-divisional/ block lab will test 100% water sources under its jurisdiction; once for chemical parameters and twice for bacteriological parameters (pre and post monsoon) in a year, covering all sources of a block at least for 13 basic water quality parameters²². The positively tested samples will be referred to the district laboratory immediately. The other parameters may be tested as per local contamination. In case, block level laboratories are not available, services of laboratories of nearby educational institutions or universities may be explored and availed.
ii.) District laboratory: It is suggested that district lab will test 250 water sources/ samples per month (i.e. 3,000 in a year as per the target of roster available on Department/ National Mission IMIS) covering all sources randomly spread geographically including the positively tested samples referred by the subdivision/ block laboratory/ mobile laboratory on at least for 13 basic water quality parameters. The district lab will also refer the positively tested samples to the State laboratory immediately. The other parameters may be tested as per local contamination at district level.
i.) Up to 2% of the allocation to States can be utilized for carrying out WQM&S activities
ii.) all the above activities shall have a funding pattern of 90:10 for NE and Himalayan States and 60:40 for remaining States. The fund sharing pattern for UTs shall be 100:0 between Centre and UT Administration in UTs without legislature and 90:10 for UTS with legislature
iii.) the fund may be utilized for activities like setting up of State level laboratory (building cost permitted only for State Level Laboratory), new district/ sub-divisional laboratories (building cost to be borne by the State Government, rental charges could be booked under this fund), laboratories under PPP mode, upgrading of existing water quality testing laboratories which inter-alia include procurement of equipments, instruments, chemicals/ reagents , glassware, consumables, hiring of outsourced human resources (regular staff to be paid salaries by the State Government/ UT Administration), hiring of vehicles for transportation of water samples collected from the field to the laboratory and expenses incurred for NABL accreditation process (consultant fee, audit cost, application fee and annual fee
Water quality monitoring in quality -affected areas
There may be water sources where the concentration of chemical contaminants is found to be at border line, i.e a little lower than the permissible limit as prescribed in BIS:10500. To ensure that the water supply through FHTC is of prescribed quality, villages using such water sources necessitate periodic monitoring and may be enlisted as 'hot spots'. The list of such 'hot spots' is to be shared by PHED/ RWS Department with SWSM, DWSM and GP. PHED/ RWS Department is to undertake regular monitoring of water quality of such water sources and water quality surveillance will be done by GP and/ or its sub-committee, i.e. VWSC/Paani Samiti/ User Group, etc. and local community. Corrective measures need to be taken wherever and whenever required.
Water quality data of water sources in 'hot spots' will specifically be monitored through JJM IMIS. Before selecting any such water source for piped water supply system, it will be discussed by Gram Panchayat and/ or its sub-committee, i.e. VWSC/ Paani Samiti/ User Group, etc. and approved through Gram Sabha, as mentioned in Chapter 6.
List of training and IEC activities
i.) display of details of nearest water quality testing lab in prominent locations in villages/ blocks/ districts
ii.) water quality training of departmental stakeholders, Gram Panchayat and/ or its subcommittee, i.e. VWSC/ Paani Samiti/ User Group, etc., ISAs, PRIs, barefoot technicians, etc.;
iii.) awareness generation on water quality issues, water-borne diseases and health impacts
iv.) water safety planning
v.) behavioral change communication on- 'strictly avoiding water from quality-affected source'