Finally, DK ZP gets water testing lab

Adequate quantity and safe quality drinking water is a basic requirement for life and a determinant of standard of living. Poor access to safe drinking water can result in many diseases including diarrhoea, fluorosis, cholera, and hepatitis A etc. The National Water Policy 2002 reflects the significance attached to drinking water which states: “Adequate safe drinking water facilities should be provided to the entire population both in urban and rural areas.”

According to 2001 census, India lacks access to safe drinking water sources like tap, hand pump and tube well. In the meantime, both the Central and State governments have been making efforts to supply safe drinking water to the households in the country.

In a view to provide safe drinking water to the citizens, the Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat has started a well-equipped laboratory to test the chemical content and other contents in potable water being supplied to rural areas. Though the lab was started three years ago, owing to the non-availability of Chemist, it was not functioning. The lab was set up at the cost of Rs 4.5 lakh. Recently, Water Analyser and spectrophotometre was installed in the lab and it has started functioning.

Speaking to City Herald, Zilla Panchayat CEO P Shivashankar said: “We can test the soil content, hardness of water, fluoride content, iron, nitrite and calcium content in water along with conductivity of water and alkalinity in water. All the Gram Panchayats were give multi parameter field test kit last year, to test water samples available in the Gram Panchayat limits. However, now they can get the samples to the Zilla Panchyat for testing.”

“In fact, we did not have water testing laboratory so far. The lab has been started to provide quality drinking water to the people of the district,” he added.

“We have tested bout 4,800 water samples collected from different parts of the region so far. The borewell water was found with more iron content. If the water samples were found impure, then steps would be taken to ensure that clean water is supplied. The water sources would be closed permanently if it was not possible to rectify the problem,” he added.

In a day, 150 to 200 water samples can be tested in the laboratory.

He says “normally iron and nitrite content is more in water in coastal districts.  The contents in water are within permissible limits in the district. No content of fluoride was found in the district. However, pH value of water is low in the district. The normal pH value should be 7. It is between 5 to 6 in the district. Though there is no danger to the health of the people with low pH level, fish breeding will be difficult with water containing low pH value,” he added.  “Wherever, we have found more than permissible content of iron and nitrite content, we have taken care to filter the water source. The schools have been provided with filters under Jalamani scheme of the Government. In 2009-10, 70 schools have been covered under the scheme. In 2010-11, about 164 schools will be covered. Under the project, tank, installation of pipeline and purifier will be given to every school,” he added. With this, the people of the region can hope for a clean drinking water henceforth.

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