With more than 20 cases of water-borne diseases being registered in the city every day, experts have attributed this trend to the Millennium City’s water being totally unfit for drinking.
“Since the monsoon arrived, we have been seeing 20 cases of gastro, diarrhoea and vomiting daily. This is because Gurgaon lacks water hygiene,” said Dr Rakesh Kumar, medical officer, Gurgaon Civil Hospital.
Experts say the low water hygiene here is due to three major reasons — firstly, the city’s depleting water table has given rise to an increase in total dissolved solids (TDS) content in the water; secondly, the haphazard residential and commercial development, and finally, the mixing of sewage water with drinking water as both pipes run parallel to each other.
“The forms of water contamination found in Gurgaon are chemical, bacterial and industrial. But a layman cannot identify the contamination as it cannot be gauged by mere taste, smell or colour,” said Gauhar Mehmood, a professor at the civil engineering department, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.
Mehmood, who has been conducting numerous studies on Gurgaon’s water since 1985, has also designed the rainwater harvesting pit master plan for the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon. With 70% of Gurgaon’s water supply being obtained from under the ground, the water table has been naturally contaminated due to the increase in TDS — the essential minerals and salts found in water.
“For a very long time, there was no government or administrative intervention when it came to the use of groundwater and the water recharge mechanism is also at its infant stage. Depletion is a major cause for the increase in the salinity of the water,” Mehmood explained.
The desirable amount of TDS ranges between 500mg per litre and 2,000 mg per litre. But, in Gurgaon it exceeds 7,000 mg per litre.