Fluoride Action Network

Water in every other village unsafe in Karnataka

Source: The Times of India | Times News Network
Posted on October 23rd, 2001
Location: India

BANGALORE: Drinking water in nearly 50 per cent of Karnataka’s villages is unsafe for consumption: This is the shocking fact uncovered by the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) department following a survey submitted in June.

Nearly 200,000 water samples from every water source in 56,682 rural habitations were collected over one year and examined by different private agencies in each district.

“Tests were conducted on turbidity, temperature, conductivity, total dissolved solids, chloride, iron, fluoride, nitrate, sulphate, alkalinity, arsenic, total hardness and bacteria. The survey rejected the water in 20,929 villages,” RDPR Director (Rural Infrastructure) G.N. Nayak told The Sunday Times of India.

Bagepalli taluk in Kolar district is the worst affected with water in 219 habitations found unpotable. Tumkur, Chitradurga, Kolar, Bellary, Koppal, Gulbarga, Bangalore Rural, Davanagere, Raichur, Bangalore Urban and Bijapur are the other affected districts.

Water in 5,822 villages is contaminated with excess fluoride; in 6,621 it has excess iron; in 4,077 villages, the nitrate level is too high and in 4,411 villages, water suffers from brackishness. “The teeth and bones of all those who drink it will be affected,” Nayak admitted.

What makes the situation worse is the government does not have any specific programme to counter the problem other than the routine one aimed at providing 55 litres of water per person per day in all districts.

The government has released Rs 150 crore for 45 projects from 1997-98, covering 632 villages __ a mere three per cent of the affected villages and in districts like Belgaum, Uttar Kannada and Dharwad, which do not figure in the `most affected’ list.

“Another 31 projects have been drawn up, which will cost Rs 489 crore. These will be sanctioned on the availability of funds,” Nayak said.

A state-level committee on drinking water, chaired by the Development Commissioner, clears projects for use of surface water or defloridation of tan water, based on priority and funds availability.

The ZP engineering departments execute them.

Affected areas

Tumkur — all 10 taluks — 658 villages
Chitradurga — all 6 taluks — 519 villages
Kolar — 10 out of 11 taluks — 509 villages
Bellary — all 7 taluks — 489 villages
Koppal — all 4 taluks — 472 villages
Gulbarga — all 10 taluks — 443 villages
Bangalore Rural — all 7 taluks — 406 villages
Davanagere — all 6 taluks — 358 villages
Raichur — all 5 taluks — 322 villages
Bangalore Urban — all 3 taluks — 262 villages
Bijapur — all 5 taluks — 200 villages
Projects undertaken
Belgaum — 15
Bellary — 7
Dharwad — 6
Gulbarga — 4
Kolar — 3
Uttar Kannada — 2
Raichur — 2
Tumkur — 2
Koppal –1
Haveri — 1
Davangere — 1
Bijapur — 1
Chitradurga — 1
Gadag — 1
Projects planned
Gadag, Belgaum, Bellary, Chitradurga, Raichur.