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Piped drinking water safe, says Kerala Water Authority

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Staff Reporter

Regular surveillance and chlorination done to make it safe

KOCHI: Barring a few instances of water being ‘locally contaminated’ at rural areas, the piped drinking water supplied in the city area is generally safe, according to Kerala Water Authority (KWA) officials.

Regular surveillance of water quality and residual chlorine at the farthest point of supply lines are carried out to ensure that water supplied is safe, said Jolly Thomas, Executive Engineer of the Quality Control Division of the KWA.

Large supply projects

There were earlier some issues with the water quality in water supplied in the city areas. However, the quality of water has improved in the areas where water is supplied from large water supply projects, she said.

The KWA has been taking efforts to ensure that there is at least 1.5 ppm (parts per million) residual chlorine in the water supplied by it. Water quality analysis is done for raw water samples collected from the sources of water and also the water released from the treatment plants.

In large projects, chlorine gas is used for chlorination, she said.

Pipe burst

At the same time, Ms. Thomas cautioned against the contamination of water due to what is termed as local contamination.

In cases like bursting of pipes, there is the possibility of water being polluted, as contaminants would enter the water stream through the leaks.

Hand pumps a risk

The use of hand pumps to draw water is also a major risk factor.

While water is drawn using hand pumps, the pressure inside the pipe will be low and water from outside would enter the distribution system, she said.

The Ernakulam wing of the Division takes care of Ernakulam and Idukki districts. The Authority has been regularly monitoring water quality parameters like turbidity, colour, hardness, PH, presence of Calcium, Magnesium, Flourides, Chlorides and alkalinity.

Earlier, water quality issues were reported in rural water supply projects in places like Perumbavoor.

However, the water supplied to Kochi and adjoining areas including Vypeen is safe, she assured.

Boiled water safe

The use of boiled water is the effective way to check the possible out break of water-borne diseases and filtering of water will not be effective in destroying pathogens, said M.K. Mukundan, joint director of the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology, Kochi.

The periodic inspection of pipelines and joints for leaks is the only solution to prevent the possibility of contaminants entering the distribution system at the water supplier’s level. At the household level, water purification can be carried out by chlorination.

For purifying 1,000 litre drinking water, 1 ml of concentrated sodium hypo chlorate should be added and stirred. The solution should be allowed 30 minutes contact time for the chlorine to act, suggested Dr. Mukundan who heads the Quality Assurance and Management System of the Institute.

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