India’s tap water quality is improving but very few are confident of drinking it without purifying
- In a survey by LocalCircles, only 3% of people said that they do not need to purify tap water.
- The quality of water worsens as it travels through the trunk mains to service reservoirs before reaching homes.
- A majority of respondents – 44% – said that they purify water using a Reverse Osmosis (RO) system.
AdvertisementThe number of Indians who believe that the quality of tap water they receive from municipal bodies is improving has gone up in the last one year. In a survey by LocalCircles, 44% said that their tap water is good or higher, up from 35% last year.
“The reason may be that at the district and panchayat level there is more community involvement and there is more regular quality testing being conducted under the Jal Jeevan Mission,” the survey said.
While access to tap water has been improving in urban and rural households, the quality of tap water determines the health of its users as water borne diseases like amoebic dysentery and cholera can spread through it.
The survey data shows that while 15% of respondents rated the piped water they receive in their homes as “very good”, 29% rated it as “good” and 32% said it was “average”.
On the other hand, 10% of the respondents rated piped water supplied to their homes as “poor”, 4% as “very poor”, while 8% of those surveyed stated that they don’t get piped water in their homes.
Only 3% of respondents said that they do not need to purify tap water before drinking it. To ensure the water they receive is fit for drinking, a majority of them – 44% – purify it with a Reverse Osmosis (RO) system, while 28% use a water purifier.
Only 2% of the respondents said that they use chlorination, alum and other minerals, while 11% boil water before using it. On the other hand, 5% of the respondents said that they use clay vessels for purification; 5% however don’t purify water but instead buy bottled water. Only 2% don’t purify water currently and consume tap water as it comes.
According to Transparency Market Research, the water purifier market in India is expected to reach a valuation of $4.1 billion by the end of 2024, as against $1.1 billion in 2015. The RO sector has held 37% of the market share in terms of total revenue in 2015.
Why your tap water may be impure
According to a report published by ORF in 2019, in urban areas, the quality of water produced at filtration plants may be top-class, but it worsens as the water travels through the trunk mains to service reservoirs.
The LocalCircles survey report says that the gradual deterioration in the quality of water is because most of the last-mile pipeline networks are poorly maintained.
In many cases, especially in the slums, they are laid through open storm-water drains or in close proximity to municipal sewers. With intermittent water supply, pipes are fully pressurized for only a couple of hours daily.
“During the long no-supply periods, contaminated surrounding groundwater seeps in as the pressure in the pipes drops to zero. This contaminated water eventually flows out of the taps whenever the municipal water supply service is resumed,” says the LocalCircles report.
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