AURANGABAD: The quality of drinking water supplied in many parts of the district has become a cause of concern with the possibilities of a rise in water-borne diseases from the affected areas. Latest health department reports indicated that even the water samples from Aurangabad taluka were contaminated. The latest drinking water quality monitoring report by the Aurangabad health department and district health laboratory has revealed that 4,387 of the 14,664 water samples collected last year were contaminated.
The almost 30% water contamination has rung alarm bells within the district administration. The highest incidence of contamination, nearly 36%, was seen in water samples from Paithan and Sillod taluka. The Aurangabad taluka has reported 33% water contamination among the nine talukas.
“The administration was taken aback when it found nearly 33% water samples found to be contaminated in Aurangabad taluka. The department regularly holds workshops focusing on water quality, hygiene and health and campaigns to initiate measures to supply potable water,” said Bawiskar. The health department conducts orthotolidine (O-test) of water samples of the area found to be infected and if these samples are found to be bacteriologically infected then resampling is done and the source of contamination monitored.
“Moreover, the administration restricts people from drinking water from the borewells, which run dry in summer, as they have greater chances of having contaminated water. Display boards of reading `water not fit for drinking` are put up,” he explained. Providing clean and potable water is the responsibility of the district water department and the local gram panchayats.
The administration has issued report cards to the villages from the highly contaminated water samples were drawn. The worst performing gram panchayats have been told to stop supply of the contaminated water and take up corrective measures. The administration said that six of the 858 gram panchayats in the district were given the red card.
Two villages each from Aurangabad, Sillod and Paithan talukas have been issued these cards for failing to provide clean potable water to the residents. ZP additional district health officer Rajendra Bawiskar said, “Six villages were issued red card based on the drinking water quality monitoring report by the ZP health department. The gram panchayats fall under the dangerous zone for failing to provide potable water.
The water from these villages is frequently tested for contamination. There is a high possibility of disease outbreaks.” He added that maximum number of villages was given green cards, in which the possibility of spread of water-borne diseases is less.
As many as 673 GPs were issues green cards. While 178 GPs were issued yellow cards, which depicts the condition of potable water was satisfactory. Only one GP was honoured with silver card, which is rated as model GP.
“Only Patoda village was honoured with silver card and was felicitated as model village for maintaining proper sanitation and hygienic conditions in the village,” Bawiskar said. Unsafe water sanitation and hygiene practices are major causes of diseases such as acute respiratory infection, cholera, malaria, typhoid, gastroenteritis, hepatitis A & E, polio, bacterial diarrhoea, dysentery, scabies, goitre and tuberculosis. Officials said that the gram panchayats have to focus on water purification and fixing the possible sources of contamination.
The reasons for contamination range from irregular chlorination by village gram panchayats, punctured pipelines and improper functioning of water treatment plants. Water in many villages located in peri-urban areas is contaminated due to improper disposal of industrial waste and percolation of industrial effluents. “Water is provided to the villages through various sources such as water supply pipelines, borewells and wells.
It is the duty of the authorities to provide pure drinking water to the people from whom they collect tax,” Bawiskar said. The Jal Suraksha Rakshaks, who are trained to purify water in all villages, should perform their duty sincerely. They should monitor that 5 grams of bleaching powder is added to per 1,000 litres of water during the water purification process and should also ensure that the chlorine content should be maintained at 33%.
Less than 20% chlorine content is of no use in purifying water and it should be preserved properly.