Over 41 per cent of urban households and 60 per cent of rural households with access to safe water get contaminated water, a report published in the British medical journal, The Lancet, has said.

Although 99.6 per cent of urban and over 97 per cent of rural households surveyed had access to safe water, as defined by the United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target 7c indicator, water was contaminated in 41.5 per cent (284 of 685) of urban and 60 per cent (715 of 1,191) of rural households, the study said.

Similar water quality results were found in a previous study of eight Indian districts, says the latest Lancet study, “MDG 7c for safe drinking water in India: an illusive achievement,” authored by Mira Joshi, Dinesh Chandra, S.V.Subramanian, Maria-Pierre Sylvestre and Smriti Pahwa.

The MDG target 7c aims to halve the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. With 89 per cent coverage globally and 91 per cent coverage in India in 2011, the U.N. monitoring bodies judge the world to be on track for access to drinking water.

“However, the celebration might be premature. The MDG target 7c indicator does not consider water quality, which relates to pathogens and chemicals that can cause disease,” the study says.

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