Clean water is our Right Water, not just necessary to life, but rather life itself is being polluted by man. Over one billion people lack safe water, 80% of infectious diseases are water borne, killing millions of children each year. Water scarcity and availability of clean drinking water are issues facing most parts of India. There is an urgent need to assess the quality of available water and understand the problems related to it. This understanding will help people, most affected by water quality problems, to evaluate and change the situation. CLEAN-India Monitors the Water We Drink CLEAN-India has taken up the task of seasonally assessing the water quality, making people aware of the importance of clean drinking water, and helping them take up remedial measures. A key feature of the CLEAN-India approach to water quality monitoring is thatyoung students are taught how to analyze the drinking water, investigate the local environment conditions and motivate communities to take actions to solve any problems. Thus CLEAN-India provides a forum for children across the country to join forces to monitor the quality of water in their respective areas. Training Students Member students are trained in methods of sample collection and analysis using the Jal-TARA water testing kit. Jal-TARA is an easy to operate water quality testing kit developed by Development Alternatives .The kit can test water on 14 parameters through some basic tests, to ensure that it is fit for drinking, domestic and other purposes. These simple tests assess the levels of specific physical, chemical and biological components. Sampling and Analyzing Water
The students then collect municipal, ground and surface water samples from various places ranging from slums, low income colonies, market places, religious places, industrial areas, residential colonies to their own school campus. Students also record the details of the environmental condition around the water source. The samples are then analyzed for the relevant parameters using the Jal TARA water testing kit. Wherever results are found crossing the permissible limits the samples are validated at Development Alternatives laboratory at Delhi or sent to State Pollution Control laboratory for other CLEAN-India centres. This helps in an accurate assessment. The results are then collated and interpreted, enabling the students to study the impact of human activities on the quality of water. The process is repeated seasonally to study the possible changes in water quality. Feedback to the Community
When any aspect of the quality is found to be undesirable, the results are communicated to residents and other stakeholders in order to create awareness. Recommendations for safer water are made by the students, which may vary according to problems.They may be as simple as maintaining the sanitation and hygiene around the water source or using chlorine tablets or adopting defloridation techniques or in the worst scenario looking for an alternative source of water. Intensive Water Quality Monitoring
Some schools have adopted intensive water quality monitoring to spread awareness. CLEAN-Delhi has done water quality monitoring for more than four years. Monitoring done for at least three seasons in a year, helps to identify areas where water is consistently contaminated. To find the extent of this contamination, a number of water samples are taken from an entire area. All the samples are analyzed on the spot with the help of a mobile testing van. The results thus found are conveyed to the public along with suggestions, precautions and possible remedial measures which can be adopted. Chlorine tablets are distributed in areas where Ammonia or Bacterial contamination is found. The intensive monitoring provides to the public, access to water testing facility at their doorstep, free of cost. Students and community then take action to ameliorate the environment quality at different levels. Some of our Water Quality Monitoring Findings Jhansi: Municipal Water had bacterial contamination
Lalitpur: All ground water samples tested were found to have Nitrate level beyond permissible limits
Kodaikanal: Municipal water in some places has nitrate level beyond permissible limits
Bilaspur: Ground and Municipal water both have nitrate level beyond permissible limits
Dehradun: All water samples tested were safe for drinking.
Berinag: Streams had bacterial contamination due to bathing and washing activities near them.
Ladakh: All water samples tested were safe for drinking.
Bangalore: Supply water was safe for drinking but lakes were found to be polluted.
Delhi, Noida and Gurgaon: Ground water or municipal water in many areas found to be contaminated with high Fluoride or high Nitrate level or Coliform bacteria. Drinking water of a few schools was also found to be of poor quality and the school management since then has been advised of corrective actions.
CLEAN-India’s achievements in water quality monitoring
• Students are trained on scientific skills for monitoring the environment quality that enables them to put into practice in real life conditions the theoretical aspects of chemistry that are learnt in the classroom. • Students also realise the value of clean water leading to its conservation in personal life and water harvesting at school level, etc. • Regular interactions with the community helps the students understand other related socio-economic factors which affect the water quality. • More than 200 water quality monitoring stations established in Delhi and similar efforts underway in other CLEAN-India centres. • Jal Boards, Ground Water Boards helping in taking remedial actions for problematic sites. • Jal TARA Slow Sand Filter installed in schools and communities where tap water showed bacterial contamination. • First of its kind Interactive Digital Water Quality Map.