Quality, Standards and Testing

Water needed for human consumption, industrial purposes or other requirements must cater to certain minimum standards. The quality of any water is defined by its physical and chemical properties (characteristics). Physical properties include its appearance (colour, clarity and odour, perhaps also its taste) while the chemical properties refer to the constituents dissolved in it. Some of the physical properties are measurable and can be expressed in units of measurement while others like appearance, odour or taste are clearly subjective. However, all the chemical constituents can be measured accurately.

Drinking water must meet certain quality standards to safeguard the health of the people. The permissible and desirable limits of various parameters in drinking water have been detailed as per the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) standard specifications for potable water. These parameters are included in BIS-10500-1991. The various parameters covered include colour, odour, pH, total dissolved solids, hardness, alkalinity, elemental compounds such as iron, manganese, sulphate, nitrate, chloride, fluoride, arsenic, chromium, copper, cyanide, lead, mercury, zinc and coliform bacteria. The tolerance limits for inland surface waters for various classes of water use have been published by the Central Water Commission. Per ISI-IS: 2296-1982, the tolerance limits of parameters are specified as per classified use of water depending on various uses of water ranging from Class A to Class E.

What does the water that one drinks contain, what substances are dissolved in it and what are their safe limits? What are the issues that affect water quality? For more detailed information on all this, please read our FAQs on Rules, Regulations & Standards concerning water and Equipments used to measure water quality and quantity

Featured Articles
December 2, 2019 Water stewardship is an approach predicated on the concept that water is a shared resource and so water risks are also shared risks that everyone in a catchment will face
Picture credit: Romit Sen
November 21, 2019 A report by NIUA brings to light the chinks in Jaipur's sewage system and suggests some solutions.
Routine check done by the sewage treatment plant staff in Delawas, Jaipur. The plant is part of the ADB best practices projects list. (Image: Asian Development Bank, Flickr Commons)
November 18, 2019 Bangalore's water utility is understaffed, under financed and unable to service the city's water needs.
Image credit: Citizen Matters
No improvement in the water quality of the Ganga during lockdown: CPCB
News this week Swati Bansal posted 1 year ago

Water quality of Ganga river remained grim during lockdown: CPCB

Ganga river at Kachla, Uttar Pradesh. (Source: IWP Flickr Photos)
Arghyam is looking for a Mission Leader - Partner Engagements
Arghyam is looking for a motivated, passionate and hands on leader to work with actors in the water ecosystem to enable the scale of solutions to solve water crisis in India. Swati Bansal posted 1 year 1 month ago

About Arghyam 

Groundwater extraction: NGT gets strict with commercial entities
Policy matters this week Swati Bansal posted 1 year 2 months ago

NGT bans granting general permissions for groundwater extraction to commercial entities

NGT gets strict with commercial entities (Source: IWP Flickr album)
India-UK team tackles antimicrobial resistance spread in waterways
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An estimated 58,000 babies die in India every year from superbug infections passed on from their mothers, whilst drug-resistant pathogens cause between 28,000 to 38,000 extra deaths in the European Union every year.

The Musi river in Hyderabad, which has high concentrations of antibiotics released from production facilities (Image: Newcastle University)
Covid-19 threatens to worsen India's water crisis
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While the world has got a reprieve from pollution with emerging wildlife, cleaner air and clearer water bodies during lockdown, Covid-19 might actually be worsening the present water crisis in an inconspicuous manner. The world is still developing more clarity on safeguards that can prevent transmission, treatment and post treatment complications.

Marine litter. Plastic bottles on a beach. (Image: Bo Eide, Flickr Commons; CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Webinar series by India-UK Water Centre
IUKWC is hosting a brand new series of webinars, brought to you by members of our Open Network of water scientists. Swati Bansal posted 1 year 4 months ago

Each webinar will be approximately 1 hour in length and will focus on a range of topics.

To register, please click here.

Webinar 1:

Developing an effective participatory groundwater monitoring program at village level
Issues in groundwater management and recharge have been dealt with in a series of booklets as a part of the MARVI project. Amita Bhaduri posted 1 year 5 months ago

The ‘Managing Aquifer Recharge and Sustaining Groundwater Use through Village-level Intervention’ (MARVI) project is being undertaken since February 2012 with the overall aim to improve the security of irrigation water supplies and enhance livelihood opportunities for rural communities in India.

One of the Bhujal Jankaars measuring groundwater levels manually (Image: Basant Maheshwari)
WASH warriors, in the making!
In addition to improving WASH facilities, changing WASH behaviour at a young age can go a long way in coping with infectious diseases like Covid-19 in the future! Aarti Kelkar Khambete posted 1 year 5 months ago

Citizens Association for Child Rights (CACR) works with municipal schools in Mumbai with a focus on WASH and menstrual hygiene management and even a digital literacy programme.

WASH warriors, in the making! (Image Source: CACR)
Water levels in major reservoirs maximum in last 13 years: CWC
News this week Swati Bansal posted 1 year 5 months ago

Water storage level 76 percent more than last year: CWC

Narmada river in Madhya Pradesh (Source: IWP Flickr photos)
Jharkhand launches scheme to revive rural economy
Policy matters this week Swati Bansal posted 1 year 5 months ago

Jharkhand government launches three schemes to revive rural economy under the MGNREGA

Jharkhand launches scheme to revive rural economy. Image for representation only. (Image source: IWP Flickr photos)
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