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And now water cards for the people

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A water card that will be issued by the CWRDM in Kunnamangalam panchayat in Kozhikode district.
A water card that will be issued by the CWRDM in Kunnamangalam panchayat in Kozhikode district.

R. Madhavan Nair

“The introduction of water cards can be one of the options for solving water quality problems.”

Kozhikode: The Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (CWRDM) here has launched a Rs.9.63-lakh project to issue water cards that indicate quality of water in each household.

Residents in Kunnamangalam grama panchayat in the district would be the first to be issued water cards. Madhavan Komath, principal investigator of the project, said the scheme was already under way. Water samples collected from wells in Kunnamangalam were being analysed for determining their quality.

Dr. Komath said the quality of water in the panchayat should be studied in details since the groundwater there had been found to be getting polluted because of dumping of domestic waste and excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides in fields.

The panchayat has nearly 10,000 wells. Water in all the wells would be tested. The water card would provide results of analysis of water and suggest remedial measures needed to remove pollution, if any, to each householder.

Dr. Komath said “the water card is as important as ration card, identity card, and health card… by giving this water card, an awareness of the quality of water will be created. The house-owner and other members of the family would have an idea of the quality of water he drinks. The introduction water cards can be one of the options for solving water quality problems.”

Role for students

For collecting samples of water, the help of local school students had been sought. Water clubs, each having 50 students, would be formed as soon as the schools reopen. The students would do water analysis on water drawn from the well in their school and prepare water card for their school. Under the project, which is to be completed in three years in each of the 22 wards of the panchayat, extensive public awareness programmes had also been planned.

Contamination of water had already been acknowledged as major health threat prompting demands to improve water quality.

Explaining the significance of the project, Dr. Komath said, “while changes in quality of water due to sodium or calcium could be detected easily by taste and odour, more subtle changes in concentration of different trace elements which may become toxic may not be easily detected. This is a major problem faced by people in the form of fluoride and arsenic in some places. Since these are toxic it is important to find out if they are present in water. In urban areas facilities to improve water quality by removing toxic substances do exist people. Rural areas are more vulnerable.

“The water card project is expected to be a major step forward in efforts to spread awareness of water quality among the common people.”

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