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ANALYSIS

CGWB undertaking survey to ascertain chemical contents in ground water
Saturday, 08 July, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), under the ministry of water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation, is undertaking a massive arsenic and fluoride survey all over the country to ascertain their chemical contents in the ground water for potable purposes by digging wells in almost 21 states in which patchy reports have surfaced for their chemical presence in such water. This was stated by Dipankar Saha, member of the board.

Addressing a national conclave on drinking water quality under the aegis of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the department of science and technology (DoST) in New Delhi, he added, “We are going to recommend to the 21 states to avoid potable water extracted from ground wells immediately beneath the surface, as there exists a huge possibility of chemicals, such as arsenic and fluorides, that are utterly dangerous for human consumption.”

The survey would lay emphasis on digging wells 300 metre below the surface, as the arsenic and fluoride content there is missing, and such water taken out of the wells could be fitter for human consumptions.

“CGWB is concentrating on a survey in such states as West Bengal, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and the like, as in those 21 states, the excessive use of fertilisers has led to the accumulation of arsenic and fluorides immediately beneath the surface in the last couple of decades, filling their ground water with these dangerous and injurious chemicals,” Saha said.

He added, “The focus of the survey would be to dig wells deeper below the surface of 300m in which possibilities of these chemicals hardly exist as of now, and the dug up wells would be handed over to the states concerned for necessary water supply for drinking purposes.”

Meanwhile, a report, jointly prepared by the PHD Chamber and Water Aid, was also released on the occasion. It stressed that the challenging task at the hand of water managers remained to ensure adequate access to water resources without undue environmental degradation. It warned that India would become a water-stressed nation by 2020, keeping in view the fact that the average availability of water was reducing steadily with the growing population.

Therefore, they suggested a way forward for improving water accessibility with an integrated approach of various government departments responsible for this task, pointing out that water had been an issue in India that had been dealt with by policy makers in isolation.

Among those that released the report comprised R K Sinha, chief engineer, Central Water Commission; Neelima Alam, scientist, DoST, and Ranjeet Mehta, director, PHD Chamber. They emphasised that a policy was urgently needed to regulate water consumption by all stakeholders.

The Chamber recommended that a political consensus needed to be created for the judicious use of water and recycling technologies needed to be brought from advanced nations such as Israel and the like to India for the intended purposes.

It was felt that 85 per cent of India’s drinking water needs were fulfilled by aquifers and 62 million people were suffering from various levels of fluorosis. Out of the total 17,13,303 water habitations in India, 1,76,177 were found to be contaminated.
 
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