Forested hills source of mineral water

It is much more beneficial than organic food, says Delhi Jal Board expert

Updated - August 02, 2016 08:04 am IST

Published - August 02, 2016 12:00 am IST - VISAKHAPATNAM:

Vikram Soni.

Vikram Soni.

Honorary advisor to Delhi Jal Board Vikram Soni offers a novel way to improve the health of people in the city by providing them mineral water sourced from the hills of the Eastern Ghats that skirt the city and the region.

He is of the view that since there are so many forested hills, some of the hills give mineral water, not processed mineral water but real mineral water like the one from springs.

"The water that falls on unpolluted forest tracts, picks up nutrients in forest floor and from the leaf matter, goes through the rock and comes out in spring or goes to the bottom of aquifer. If it is tested, it is of mineral water quality," he says.

Taking advantage of it, mineral water sanctuaries can be made and if necessary it can be extracted from the ground and it can be dispensed from dairy outlets at Rs.2 to Rs.3 a litre, Prof. Soni told The Hindu during his recent visit to the city.

Because it is organic water, it is much more beneficial to the body than organic food. If two million people drink two or three litres of water in a day, two to three million cubic meters of mineral water is enough.

However, Prof. Soni says it is not tried in India at all. “Each city should have its forest reserves and we should find the subterranean aquifers to draw water of mineral water quality,” he suggests.

"We have tested it in the ridge in Delhi in Asola forest sanctuary. It has sodium and, potassium is high but within limits. It has characteristics of mineral water. Even from outside the city area we can collect it,” he says.

So Forest Department should protect its water sanctuaries, he says. Mineral water from springs now costs Rs.45 a litre. The water from the forest can be sold at as cheap as Rs.3 a litre.

Two million cubic meters is two billion litres and brings in Rs. 600 crore of income that could be great income for the city, he estimates.

Prof. Soni who carried out a study in Delhi Ridge in Asola/Bhati sanctuaries says it may happen in Delhi and it is something every city can do.

It’s a non-invasive, perennial and sustainable scheme for regulated supply of local mineral drinking water for a city, Prof. Soni et al say in a paper yet to be published on the subject adding the supply will be sourced from natural storage in a subterranean aquifer underlying a local forest.

"However, one of the foremost assessments to be carried out before planning to utilise the forested mineral water is to make a hydrological assessment of its potential recharge. This involves investigations pertaining to recharge, and aquifer properties to ensure the ecological integrity of the process," Prof. Soni cautions.

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