One-third of Delhi depended on ROs for drinking water, 14% on bottles

Updated on Dec 03, 2019 05:46 AM IST

National Statistical Office’s (NSSO) latest report shows that Delhi tops the list of 36 states and union territories in the use of electric water purifiers, with 36.5% households in the capital relying on purifiers to treat drinking water.

The report also shows that in the National Capital, bottled water was the second principal source of drinking water. This means that nearly 14% of Delhiites depend on packaged drinking water at home.(Sakib Ali / Hindustan Times)
The report also shows that in the National Capital, bottled water was the second principal source of drinking water. This means that nearly 14% of Delhiites depend on packaged drinking water at home.(Sakib Ali / Hindustan Times)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Forty eight-year-old Manohar Lal, a resident of south Delhi’s Sangam Vihar, buys three-four cans of drinking water daily for his family of six. Despite the Delhi government’s claims of water in the city from water treatment plants (WTP) being “fit to drink”, Lal says he does not want to take any chances with his family’s health.

“I have three children and even though we are not rich, the health of my family is of utmost importance. Each canister costs me Rs 35, but that will at least save me medical bills,” he said Friday.

A National Statistical Office’s (NSSO) latest report shows that Delhi tops the list of 36 states and union territories in the use of electric water purifiers, with 36.5% households in the capital relying on purifiers to treat drinking water. The report also shows that in the National Capital, bottled water was the second principal source of drinking water. This means that nearly 14% of Delhiites depend on packaged drinking water at home.

Agreeing with fears such as those voiced by Lal and the findings of the NSSO report, Sushant Giri, a resident of Vasant Kunj’s B-Block said trusting the Delhi Jal Board’s (DJB) promises of clean water provided at household taps was difficult mainly because of the state of the rivers, which are the primary source of water for the city. “Look at the state of the Yamuna and Ganga. How much can technology clean them?” he said, adding that he has a water purifier installed at his house since over 15 years now.

The recent controversy questioning the purity of Delhi’s drinking water has also cautioned many. While a Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) report had failed Delhi in almost ten out of 11 quality parameters of drinking water, the Delhi government and the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have called the findings “false and politically motivated”.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had, in May this year, directed the ministry of environment and forests to frame rules for the manufacture and sale of ROs (water purifiers using reverse osmosis) and banned the use of ROs in areas where the total dissolved solids (TDS) in water was under 500mg/litre. Moderate to high levels of TDS (above 500mg/litre) not only change the taste of the water but also pose health hazards.

The green court had said that the use of RO filters results in “unnecessarily rejecting 80% of potable water”. The Supreme Court also refused to stay this ban in an appeal heard this month.

“I don’t know who to trust. If there is a conclusive and trustworthy test of the city’s water quality and proving its purity then maybe in a few years perceptions will change, but on most days in our locality the tap water is dirty and smelly. It cannot be used for other household chores even, let alone for drinking,” said Sudha Shankaran, a resident of RK Puram.

The DJB, however, is confident water from the WTPs can be consumed right from taps. DJB vice chairperson Dinesh Mohaniya said before his government, Delhiites received muddy and unclean water for many years. There is also a psychological block that you cannot drink tap water directly, he added. “I can confidently say treated water in Delhi is drinkable but we need to really work with people till they can confidently drink from their taps. A lot depends on perception and fear of their health; things are also being made worse by political ill-will of other parties,” said Mohaniya.

Experts said in the WTP, the water is cleaned after which poly-aluminium chloride and alum is mixed to remove mud and dirt. But this is no guarantee that people are getting clean water in the end. Though independent tests have proved Delhi’s water is cleaner compared to other states, there is a fear it may be contaminated by the time it reaches households, they said.

“Agencies will have to work a lot on distribution infrastructure before they can gain people’s trust. Though water from WTPs is drinkable, there are ways it can get contaminated when it reaches taps,” said Dr Prabhakaran Reddy, senior researcher, IIT-Delhi.

He, however, also said that while people think that RO filters can solve all drinking water problems, excess purification also has its disadvantages. “Over-purification can cause some essential minerals to be killed. It is not advised in areas where you get quality-tested water,” he added.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Soumya Pillai covers environment and traffic in Delhi. A journalist for three years, she has grown up in and with Delhi, which is often reflected in the stories she does about life in the city. She also enjoys writing on social innovations.

Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Hindu Janajagruti Samiti urged Bengaluru police to take action against Amazon. 

    Complaint against Amazon over 'obscene' Radha-Krishna painting

    Boycott Amazon started trending on Twitter as Hindu Janajagruti Samiti on Friday claimed that the e-commerce giant was selling 'obscene' paintings of Radha-Krishna. A memorandum was submitted to Bengaluru's Subramanya Nagar police station requesting action against the e-commerce giant, the organisation said. The painting was also available on the website of Exotic India, the organisation claimed, under the Janmashtami sale. Janmashtami was observed on August 18 and 19.

  • Bommai said the state government has taken the issue of death threat to Siddaramaiah seriously and promised him a thorough enquiry.

    CM Bommai orders thorough probe into death threat calls to Siddaramaiah

    Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Friday ordered a thorough probe into death threat calls to the Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly, Siddaramaiah. Amid the row over his remarks on Veer Savarkar, Congress leader and former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah claimed that he received death threat calls. Earlier on Friday, Karnataka Congress staged a protest to condemn the egg attack against Siddaramaiah in Kodagu district during his visit.

  • Chief minister Basavaraj Bommai was reviewing the progress of Integrated Township schemes. (PTI)

    CM Bommai seeks assistance from universities for integrated townships in state

    Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Friday suggested taking the help of universities having expertise in urban planning for the implementation of the environment-friendly Smart Integrated Township project in the state. Reviewing the progress of Integrated Township schemes here on Friday, the Bommai said Singapore University and other varsities are having special expertise in urban planning and assistance from those varsities could be taken. There must be provision to start industries near them.

  • The Punjab and Haryana high court has directed that Gian Sagar Dental College and Hospital, Banur, be allowed to make admissions in Bachelor of Dental Science (BDS) course for the academic session 2022-2023. (Image for representational purpose)

    Punjab and Haryana HC allows Gian Sagar to make BDS course admissions

    The Punjab and Haryana high court has directed that Gian Sagar Dental College and Hospital, Banur, be allowed to make admissions in Bachelor of Dental Science (BDS) course for the academic session 2022-2023. The high court bench of Justice Sudhir Mittal acted on the plea from the college which had challenged the central government's decision of denying permission for course renewal.

  • A senior functionary in the state urban development department said that the CM has accorded approval to convert part of the land of the defunct Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant for a series of recreational projects. (HT file photo)

    Bathinda all set to get a big development push

    From curating an artificial beach to developing new urban estates, Bathinda, the largest city in southern Punjab, is all set for an organised urban development push. Bathinda is one of the underdeveloped districts of Punjab even as it remained a politically significant region. But now, according to official sources, the Aam Aadmi Party government has given in-principle approval for various projects and the chief minister office is personally overseeing the development proposals for Bathinda.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, August 20, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now