Quality Testing Of Water Framework (The Hindu)

Context:

  • Recently the center has capped the tariff for testing the quality of the water in the taps to ensure that it stays within reach of the common citizens.
  • This has been done under the flagship program of the Jal Jeevan Scheme and under the name of ‘drinking water quality testing, monitoring and surveillance framework, and guidelines.’

Aim:

  • Apart from making it easier and accessible for common citizens, this process will ensure that the data of the water quality gathered through the process will be stored in Water Quality Information Management System which will be vital in addressing the loose-gaps. 
  • Accredited labs to be set up in every state, district, and block by next year. 
  • At the panchayat level, teams of women in the village water and sanitation committees will be provided with field testing kits.
  • An authorized local official will be deputed to take corrective measures in case contamination is found.
  • 2 percent of the entire Jal Jeevan budget, has been allotted for quality monitoring. 

Pricing:

  • The proposed rates will allow one to test a water sample’s pH level, turbidity, alkalinity, and hardness for a combined cost of rupees 50.
  • The presence of chloride, sulfate, or iron test would cost rupees 50 each, and tests for the more critical arsenic, fluoride, nitrate, or coliform bacteria would cost a little higher with rupees 100 each. 
  • To test all 16 water quality parameters, a package test has been announced which will cost rupees 600.
  • For chemical tests, the proposed time limit should not be more than 24 hours, and testing for the biological contaminants must provide results within 48 hours as per the guidelines. 

Challenges:

  • So far, only 66 of the 2,033 water testing laboratories have been given certification by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL).
  • This leads to the over-burdening of the existing centers as well as the low proportion doesn’t ensure accessibility to all. 

Facts:

  • Water Quality Information Management System is a portal that is developed with the assistance of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
  • National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) is a Constituent Board of Quality Council of India that works in accordance with International Laboratory Accreditation Co-operation (ILAC) and Asia Pacific Accreditation Co-operation (APAC).