Study suggests corporation water ideal for consumption

A study by the Centre for Urban Water Resources (CURE) at DHAN Foundation recommends water supplied by the Madurai Corporation as the ideal choice of drinking water out of the other options available to the residents of the city.

The study assesses the quality of three drinking water sources available to the residents- Corporation water through pipelines and lorries, groundwater and packaged drinking water. Samples were collected from one locality in each of the four zones during May 2019.

Researchers point out that PH level, Total Dissolvable Solids (TDS) level and hardness of the water are the basic indicators to check the potability of water.

Findings of the study indicate that for Corporation water all the parameters are within acceptable limits. “The Corporation treats the surface water from the Vaigai river to supply water to the residents. Usually, chemical contamination is lower in surface water,” says S. Rajamohan, Managing Director, Enviro Care India, a laboratory for testing the quality of food and water.

S. Elamuhil, Project Executive at CURE, says “We recommend the residents to consume Corporation water after boiling and filtering it.”

The study does not recommend the consumption of groundwater for drinking. TDS level in groundwater exceeds permissible limits in three out of the four zones. The chloride levels in the area were also found to be correspondingly high.

While the terrain of Madurai city can be a natural reason for higher TDS levels in the city, contamination of groundwater due to improper sewage disposal into the ground can also be a significant contributing factor, experts point out.

“Over exploitation of groundwater will also increase the TDS levels,” says V. Arumugam, a retired official of Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board.

“The groundwater needs to be diluted to reduce the TDS levels. However, due to the lack of complete rainwater harvesting systems, rainwater does not percolate into the ground,” says Mr. Rajamohan.

The groundwater also recorded higher levels of hardness because of the presence of Calcium and Magnesium. “Hard water is unfit for consumption. Higher levels of Calcium might also lead to the formation of kidney stones,” says V. Aravind, a doctor working under the National Health Mission of the State government.

In the case of packaged drinking water which usually treated through the process of Reverse Osmosis (RO), there are lower levels of vital minerals.

“Consumption of RO treated water, in the long run, will deprive the human body of essential minerals,” says Mr. Elamuhil.

Residents of Nehru Nagar (ward 76) complain that the Corporation drinking water is contaminated with sewage.

“The water flowing through the Corporation pipeline is hard and is contaminated with an unbearable stench. How are we supposed to drink this water?” asks K. Selvi, resident of Karthick street.

A retired engineer of the Madurai Corporation says that improper underground sewage connections at specific points lead to contamination of the Corporation water.

“In most places, the underground water and drainage pipeline run close to each other. The substandard drainage pipelines often burst and contaminate the drinking water,” says the retired engineer.

Mr. Arumugam suggests the construction of rainwater harvesting structures to convert rainfall as a source of water.

“Rainwater harvesting structures is the solution for meeting the drinking water crisis in the future,” he says.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 2:00:59 AM |

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