Discoloured water a cause for concern

Discoloured water a cause for concern

Fear factor

Discoloured water a  cause for concern

The City’s water woes just don’t seem to end. Residents of many areas, including Jayanagar, Ulsoor and Koramangala, have been getting discoloured Cauvery water in their homes.

While some complain that the water has a whitish tinge to it, others say that theirs is greenish-brown. In areas like Ulsoor, it’s even worse — residents are getting frothy water.

While most people do not depend on this water for drinking or cooking, there are some who have to.And after noticing the discolouration, many believe that there may be some sort of contamination in the water.

Officials from the Bangalore Water and Sewerage Supply Board (BWSSB) say that there is no need to worry about the discolouration as it is not contaminated in any way. But they do agree that the amount of Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTU) in the catchment area of Stage I, II and III is above the acceptable level of five.

Says Krishnappa, the chief engineer at the BWSSB, “This year, many areas in the City have been complaining about discolouration of water. There has been an increase in the level of NTU in Stage I, II and III.

While in Stage I, the NTU level is 6.4, Stage II is 8.1 NTU and Stage III is 7.5 NTU. This has been controlled by us and there is no reason to be alarmed as it is very common during monsoon or heavy rains.”

The reason behind the high levels of NTU is the rain, says Krishnappa. “The treatment used at the catchment area has been the same since 1973, which is more than 40 years old. We have been using aluminium sulfate or alum, which is a flocculant that removes unwanted colour and turbidity from water supplies.

But we have to update the system for better treatment of water. We have sent a proposal to the central government; in the coming months, there should be some sort of update on the issue,” he adds.

But people in most of these areas are concerned. Sunita, a science teacher who lives in Sadanandanagar, near NGEF Layout, says that she has been receiving discoloured Cauvery water.

“Seeing the brownish colour in the Cauvery water does get one worried about the health factor. So, we have not been using this water for cooking and drinking. When we tried to ask the officials, they told us that it would be alright within a few days. Now the colour is becoming normal but we still don’t want to use the water,” she adds.

In fact, there are those who prefer to use borewell water. Karuna, a resident of
Jayanagar, says, “I have never seen this form of discolouration in my household. Thankfully, we also have a borewell connection, so we prefer to use that for bathing, washing clothes and cleaning the house. As for drinking and cooking, we prefer to use filtered water.”   

Krishnappa goes on to add that the colour will remain the same for ten to 15 days. He says that one needs to worry only if there are worms or fungus particles in the
water.

“There is no reason to panic. This is common during monsoon. No matter how much we treat it, the turbidity does increase. But it will come down in a few days’ time. It
will not cause any harm to the human body — the water is safe. I too drink the same water, so I know the sentiment of the people,” he adds.

A senior scientific officer at the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) says that the possibility of contamination in the water supplied by the BWSSB is low.

“We always suggest that borewell and Cauvery water should be tested at the labs just to clear any doubt. A quarterly test should be made mandatory.

Sometimes, there are impurities in the storage tanks and pipelines, which could lead to bacterial growth and this can be harmful to one’s health,” adds the officer.

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