For the first time, the Centre is set to notify quality and standard norms for drinking water sold commercially – all water purification systems from industrial filters to packaged ‘mineral water’ to the ubiquitous water purifier sitting in every other kitchen.
The new age RO and water purifier at home will have to come with a proper digital display of water purity levels and total dissolved salt (TDS) level, besides alerts on filter changes, people in the know said.
Filtration systems across all purifiers – residential and commercial – will also have to become far more ‘water efficient’ and follow the three Rs – reuse, reduce and recycle, they said.
Prodded by National Green Tribunal last year, the environment ministry, Bureau of Indian Standards and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) are working on proper standards for all water purification systems keeping public interest paramount.
The tribunal had directed the ministry to submit a report and issue a notification to the effect before the year ends.
Discussions are almost complete between all stakeholder departments and the industry including water filtration and RO manufacturers, sources said.
It has been largely agreed that BIS will issue proper standards for every water purification/RO/filter unit.
BIS is likely to bring out specifications that will require every water filtering unit to display exact TDS level of input and output water, sources said.
A TDS of 150 mg per litre is generally considered fit for human consumption. ROs mostly do not display TDS level of water being filtered. It’s the same with ‘mineral water’ bottles sold in millions every year.
Not only is the consumer unaware of the exact ‘purity’ of the water dispensed, there is also an argument that such water may have been stripped of essential minerals in the ‘purifying’ process. Hence, the push for a transparent system to ensure full public awareness.
FSSAI will step in to specify ‘drinking grade’ water – a specification currently vague.
The environment ministry is mandated to ensure water conservation and check pollution.
Accordingly, it is preparing to ask all water filtration systems to shift to a more ‘water efficient’ system. As of now, about 80% of input water is discarded in the prevalent filtration systems, leading to huge waste. That means, ROs and other purification systems have an efficiency level of only about 20%.
The green ministry wants to push this up in a phased manner starting with 40- 60% efficiency level to reduce wastage.
ET gathers that most RO manufacturers and commercial water purification systems have largely agreed to rework pumps in a way that discarded water is ‘reused’ and recharges the water system in the area.
In case of residential areas, water can be pumped back into overhead tanks for reuse in washing and cleaning.
Special effort is being made to ensure that changes suggested do not push up water filtration costs up or do so minimally.
The ministry will also mandate that commercial establishments ensure that the discarded water and effluent do not have a TDS so high as to ‘pollute’ the overall water table. They are likely to be asked to ensure that standards and specifications listed in the Environment Protection Act, 1986 and the Water Act, 1974 are adhered to, sources indicated.
Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by Water Today staff and is generated from news feeds. Source: The Economic Times