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Mumbai residents need not buy reverse osmosis (RO) water purifiers as a study by the Union Consumer Affairs Ministry has found samples of tap water collected from the financial capital compliant with the Indian standards for drinking water. However, other metro cities of Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai failed in almost 10 out of 11 quality parameters tested by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) which is under the aegis of the Consumer Affairs Ministry. Similarly, samples drawn from 17 other state capitals were not as per the prescribed specifications for drinking water. Releasing the second phase study, Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said, “Out of 20 state capitals, all the 10 samples of piped water drawn from Mumbai were found to comply with all 11 parameters, while other cities are failing in one or more.” In the third phase, samples from the capital cities of northeastern states and from 100 smart cities will be tested and their results are expected by January 15, 2020.

The Water Quality Report for State Capitals and Delhi:

Department of Consumer Affairs decided to undertake a study through the Bureau of India Standards (BIS) on the quality of piped drinking water being supplied in the country and also rank the States, Smart Cities and even Districts based on the quality of tap water.

  • In Delhi, all the samples drawn from various places did not comply with the requirements of the Indian Standard& failed on several parameters.
  • All the 10 samples drawn from Mumbai were found to comply with the requirements.

Alarming facts:

  • More than 163 million Indians – higher than the population of Russia – do not have access to safe drinking water.
  • Irrespective of the source of water, in most parts of rural India, availability of water decreases dramatically in the summer months as the water levels drop and surface sources may dry up.
  • India’s estimated per capita availability of water in 2025 will be 1,341 cubic metre. This may further fall to 1,140 cubic metre in 2050, bringing it closer to becoming water-scarce.
  • NITI Aayog’s Composite Water Management Index 2018, India ranks 120 out of 122 countries.
  • India is ranked 13th among the 17 most water-stressed countries of the world.
  • According to the Ministry of Urban Development, 80% of India’s surface water is polluted.

Sustainable Development Goal target 6.1 calls for universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water. The target is tracked with the indicator of “safely managed drinking water services” – drinking water from an improved water source that is located on premises, available when needed, and free from faecal and priority chemical contamination.

Causes of this problem:

  • There is ‘n’ number of sources in the capital which affects water quality.
  • The basic raw water is very poor which is difficult to purify.
  • The quality of water treatment is not upto mark.
  • Mixing of surface water & ground water without proper tesing.
  • Pipeline not maintained properly
  • It is seen that Water supply line & sewerage line runs side by side.
  • In the Name of water purification, water is only
  • Samples collected do not reflect the true water quality.
  • Water falls under the state list of the Constitution and participation of states is crucial to make the mission of providing clean drinking water a success.


  • Climate change, increasing water scarcity, population growth, demographic changes and urbanization already pose challenges for water supply systems.
  • By 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas.
  • Re-use of wastewater, to recover water, nutrients, or energy, is becoming an important strategy.
  • Increasingly countries are using wastewater for irrigation – in developing countries this represents 7% of irrigated land.
  • While this practice if done inappropriately poses health risks, safe management of wastewater can yield multiple benefits, including increased food production.
  • Options for water sources used for drinking water and irrigation will continue to evolve, with an increasing reliance on groundwater and alternative sources, including wastewater.
  • Climate change will lead to greater fluctuations in harvested rainwater.
  • Management of all water resources will need to be improved to ensure provision and quality.
  • No binding to the BIS standard in India.
  • The solid waste which is dumped around, toxic industrial waste, and sewage among other factors contribute to pollution of the groundwater.
  • The dissolved solids cannot be removed by chlorination.

Effects of the issue:

  • Contaminated water and poor sanitation are linked to transmission of diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid, and polio.
  • Reduction in tourist inflow.
  • Bottled water gives rise to plastic pollution due to its demand
  • RO water is totally deprived of essential minerals and salts which is necessary.
  • Reverse osmosis during water purification also results in wastage of water.

Solutions and Way forward:

  • This is the first time such a data is made public and attempt has been made to study drinking water at consumer level and we should do this very frequently.
  • Citizens should be sensitized about the issue.
  • The consumers, the service providers and the government should all be equally responsible of their responsibilities
  • Long-distance supply of water should be avoided.
  • Compliance to Bureau of Indian Standards for water quality should be made mandatory for local bodies.
  • Data based decision taking system.
  • Pipelines should be maintained properly.
  • Rainwater harvesting should be done.
  • Treatment plants have to be
  • We need to manage underground reservoirs.
  • Sampling methodology should be proper.
  • Boiling of water is good to just kill bacteria and is not effective towards dissolved solids and require additional chemical treatment.
  • Therefore, there has to be a holistic approach towards water supply and demand.