Fluoride Action Network

Karnataka: ‘Drinking water not safe in state’

Source: Indian Express | January 2nd, 2011 | By NR Madhusudhan
Location: India

BANGALORE: An ongoing study has revealed that more than 30 per cent people in the state are consuming non-potable or chemically contaminated water, putting their health at risk.

In many areas, fluoride content is more than five times the permissible limit. This causes fluorosis, which weakens the bones and cripples the person.

Likewise, water in many areas was found to be having high salt content. This can lead to quick dehydration and affects kidneys.

Water samples collected from urban areas are found to be having more chemical contamination. Water sample taken from deep in the ground are found to be more contaminated than those taken from shallow sources.

Karnataka Rural Drinking Water and Sanitation Agency is getting more than two lakh water samples from rural areas tested with the help of National Rural Drinking Water Programme. Panchayat Raj Engineering Department (PRED) is overseeing the study.

PRED Chief Engineer Prabhakar H Chini said they had tested 1.08 lakh samples thus far. He said they could not reveal much until the study was complete and the data was classified.

Sources told Express that data had been classified for Gulbarga district. Of the 6,442 tested water samples, 30 per cent were identified as nonpotable. Two per cent samples had high acidity level. Around six per cent of the samples had high mineral content and 0.6 per cent had high chloride content. Fluoride content was high in 8.5 per cent of the samples and 13 per cent samples showed high nitrate content.

Chini said they were testing water for six parameters – acidity level (pH level), mineral content (hardness), iron content, fluoride content, nitrate content and turbidity.

Noted environmentalist AN Yellappa Reddy said as per international standards, water has to be tested for 56 parameters. He said water has to be tested for presence of heavy metals, chemicals, organic pollutants, herbicides and pesticides.

“If that is done, nearly 50 per cent of the water samples would be termed nonpotable. By consuming nonpotable water, we might not die immediately but we will gradually die due to waterborne diseases,” he said.

Reddy said the government should adopt various measures to check the use of nonpotable water for potable purpose. Suggesting a remedy, he said the government should depollute the polluted water bodies.