NEW DELHI :
To ensure safe drinking water, the government plans to come up with BIS standards for tap water across the country.
The consumer affairs ministry has written to Jal Shakti ministry to make it mandatory to use BIS standards for piped drinking across all states. The ministry has already asked all state chief ministers to make drinking water standards mandatory for tap water.
The current proposal follows the recent findings of a government study that revealed poor quality of drinking water in metropolitan cities, including Delhi and Kolkata.
“The Centre has the power to make BIS standard on piped drinking water mandatory. We have already written a letter to the Jal Shakti ministry to make it mandatory," Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said, adding "If states do not follow standards, we cannot ban supply of water."
Contaminated water can cause diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, typhoid and dysentery. According to the latest union health ministry data, at least 10,738 deaths were caused due to water-borne diseases--cholera, diarrhoea, typhoid and viral hepatitis-- over five years to 2017.
Bureau of Indian Standards is the national standard body established under the BIS Act 2016 for harmonious development of the activities of standardisation, marking and quality certification of goods.
“Under the BIS Act, there is provision that standards formulated for any products can be made mandatory," said BIS Director General Pramod Kumar Tiwari.
The BIS has sent a draft quality control order to the consumer affairs ministry, proposing that standard on drinking water as a product and standard on entire supply chain or control points should be made mandatory.
The department of consumer affairs recently released the findings of a study that was conducted through the BIS on the quality of piped drinking water being supplied in the country and also rank the states, smart cities and even districts based on the quality of tap water.
In the first phase, samples of drinking water were drawn from various locations across Delhi and in the second phase from 20 state capitals. These were then sent for testing as per Indian Standard 10500:2012 (Specification for Drinking Water) as set by the BIS.
Tests were conducted on various parameters such as organoleptic and physical tests, chemical test, toxic substances and bacteriological tests in the first stage.
A vast majority of the samples failed to comply with the requirements of IS 10500:2012 in one or more parameters, the study said. In Delhi, all the 11 samples drawn from various places did not comply with the requirements of Indian standards and failed on several parameters, the report said.
Samples of tap water collected from Mumbai were found to be compliant with the Indian standards for drinking water.
PTI contributed to this story.