Govt makes it easier for users to get drinking water tested

Govt makes it easier for users to get drinking water tested

Leveraging the technical capacity built for Covid-19 testing and surveillance, the NationalJal Jeevan Mission’ (JJM), in partnership with ICMR, on Saturday launched an online portal that will make it possible for users to get quality of drinking water tested through a network of nearly 2,000 labs across the country.

The Water Quality Information Management System’ (WQMIS) will ensure that any adverse test report will be automatically flagged up to state and central-level authorities for corrective action at source of the supply of drinking water.

The system will work the way ICMR’s robust online portal for Covid-19 test monitoring is functioning -- with a clear data flow protocol where testing laboratories provide results to the person requesting the test, state and national databases.

Union Jal Shakti minister, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said ‘Har Ghar Jal’ (water to every household) is not just a one-time infrastructure programme. “It will go a long way in building the capacity of the frontline workers, empowering women and creating employment in villages,” he said.

The preliminary testing of drinking water at village-level will be done by trained women workers using field kits (FTK). One among the five women trained to perform the FTK test in every village in the country would be registered on the portal by the block / sub-divisional laboratory in-charge to upload the FTK test results.

The sample will be sent to nearest laboratory for confirmatory test, if required. As per an estimate, testing will cost Rs 180 - 600 for 12 identified parameters, including arsenic and fluoride content, and the cost would be borne by village water and sanitation committee (Pani Samiti or User Group). The cost of basic 8-10 parameters will not be more than Rs 200 per sample.

“Idea is to bring the state authorities on board to bear the cost in a manner that the network of laboratories across the country function on a no profit, no loss mode,” said an official.

There is currently, a network of 1,933 active lab linked to WQMIS. The Centre has earmarked 2% of its entire JJM budget (Rs 1,000 crore out of nearly Rs 50,000 crore in 2021-22) for testing so that the quality of drinking water supply is ensured along with required quantity under the ongoing JJM -- a flagship programme of the central government for providing tap water connection in every rural household by 2024.

The Jal Shakti (water resources) ministry on Saturday discussed the modalities of the testing system under the WQMIS and released a testing framework during a review meeting of the JJM through virtual conference of water resources ministers from states.

Ever since the JJM was announced by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the ramparts of the Red Fort on August 15, 2019, more than 3.77 Crore rural households have been provided with tap water connections.

In total, more than 7 crore rural families (36.5% of total) have now started getting clean water in their homes. “Every family living in 52 districts, 670 blocks, 42,100 panchayats and 81,123 villages are getting assured tap water supply in their homes now,” said Shekhawat.

Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by Water Today staff and is generated from news feeds. Source: The Times of India

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