The death of a young man in south west Delhi’s Rajokri, reportedly after drinking contaminated water sourced from Delhi Jal Board (DJB) tube wells, has brought under lens the quality of water coming out of other such tube wells.
One Chhote Lal died on Wednesday while several others were taken ill after consuming dirty water flowing out of DJB tube wells. Less than a month before this, contaminated water in south Delhi’s NCERT Colony had claimed two lives besides making several others ill.
Scores of colonies in Delhi like Malviya Nagar, Chirag Delhi, Greater Kailash I, Moti Bagh, Jasola, Saket and Push Vihar get water from DJB’s tube wells that is not filtered at a treatment plant.
Just like Rajokri, several areas of Delhi have no access to treated pipe water. These areas do not have regular supply from tankers, making them solely dependent on ground water, even to quench their thirst.
The DJB has about 4,200 tube wells. Water from these tube wells is either supplied directly or mixed/blended and supplied after some treatment. “DJB’s statistics, as per its technical core committee, shows that only about 3,700 samples were collected from its 4,200 tube wells for quality checks from April 2011 to March 2012. This effectively means that the DJB is not even lifting one sample per year from a particular tube well,” a source said.
The technical core committee had also recommended lifting of samples from tube wells on a quarterly basis as against the current annual practice, source added.
As reported by HT last week, water and health experts have raised doubts about DJB’s claim of supplying pure water based on quality tests (carried out on inferior parametres) on samples from its distribution network. Over exposure to pesticides and metals like lead, chromium, cadmium — not tested on daily basis — can be toxic and a potential health hazard, they warned.
Mails to DJB remained unanswered despite DJB promising to get back with “data from field”.