The Contamination of Ground Water Due to Arsenic and Fluoride: Rattan L Kataria 

New Delhi, March 22: Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) generates ground water quality data on a regional scale through ground water quality monitoring throughout the country.

This monitoring indicates the occurrence of Fluoride, Arsenic, Nitrate, Iron and Heavy Metals beyond the BIS permissible limits for human consumption in isolated pockets in various parts of the country including Rajasthan and Maharashtra. Further, no specific study about the adverse effect on human health from Fluoride and Arsenic has been done by the CGWB.

Water being State subject, initiatives on water management including taking corrective action related to ground water quality in the country is primarily States’ responsibility.

However, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in association with State Pollution Control Boards and Pollution Control Committees (SPCBs or PCCs) is implementing the provisions of The Water (Prevention & Control) Act, 1974 & The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 to prevent and control pollution.

Government of India in partnership with States, is implementing Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) to provide potable tap water supply to every rural household in the country, by 2024.

Under JJM, while planning water supply schemes to provide tap water supply to rural households, priority is given to quality–affected habitations which, inter alia, includes habitations affected with Arsenic and Fluoride contamination. Accordingly, States are prioritising water supply schemes to provide potable drinking water in such habitations.

Further, while allocating the funds to States and  UTs in a particular financial year, 10% weightage is given to the population residing in habitations affected by chemical contaminants including Arsenic and Fluoride, as on 31st March of the preceding financial year.

Since, planning, implementation and commissioning of piped water supply schemes based on a safe water source likely to take time, purely as an interim measure, States and  UTs have been advised to install community water purification plants (CWPPs) in such habitations, to provide potable water to every household at the rate of 8–10 litre per capita per day (lpcd) to meet their drinking and cooking requirements.

Under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) launched on 25th June, 2015 in selected 500 cities with focus on development of urban infrastructure in various sectors including water supply, States and UTs have the option to take projects on special water supply arrangements for difficult areas, hill and coastal cities, including those having water quality problems with Arsenic, Fluoride etc.

The CGWB has constructed several exploratory and observation wells in the Country tapping the Arsenic safe deeper aquifer zones delineated through exploration aided detailed aquifer mapping under National Aquifer Mapping programme. Successful wells have been handed over to the State Governments for their purposeful utilization.

Further, CGWB is providing technical assistance to the States by sharing the cement sealing technology for tapping contamination free aquifers in Gangetic flood plains including West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

This Information was given by the Minister of State for Jal Shakti & Social Justice and Empowerment, Shri. Rattan Lal  Kataria  Rajya  Sabha  today.



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