In the last few days, the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi and the Centre have been in a face-off over the level of water quality in the national capital. In a recently released report by the Centre on a test conducted by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) for the Food and Consumer Affairs Ministry, it found that among major Indian cities, Delhi fared the worst in terms of the quality of water being supplied to locals. Since Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan released the report, political slugfest over the issue began. Republic TV did a reality check to know how drink worthy is Delhi's water.
In Sangam Vihar's K Block, residents say water is supplied here by the government once every fifteen days. Using a water contamination measuring device, Republic TV found that in one of the large drums kept for water storage, the level of TDS (Total dissolved solids) reads 691. This is far higher than the desired level of BIS standards set at a maximum of 300.
Speaking to Republic TV, Poonam Tyagi, a local of the area, said, "The water comes here after fifteen days and we use it for bathing and cleaning. For drinking purposes, the water comes from elsewhere." Poonam also informed that the people here have to buy packaged drinking water and the area lacks basic public facilities. Another resident, Madan Lal, said that no drinking water is provided here and people have to shell out money themselves to buy drinking water.
Elsewhere in North Delhi's Burari, a surprise awaited. A private treatment unit is built in the colony to cleanse contaminated water supplied in the area. The operator of the plant said that the water when measured with a TDS device, reads a quality level of 362. This level he said is unfit for consumption. When the TDS device checked the contamination level in the sample with treated water, it read around 35 which is drinkable.
Total dissolved solids (TDS) is a measure of the dissolved combined content of all inorganic and organic substances present in a liquid in molecular, ionized, or micro-granular suspended form. TDS comprise inorganic salts (principally calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, bicarbonates, chlorides, and sulfates) and some small amounts of organic matter that are dissolved in water. TDS in drinking-water originate from natural sources, sewage, urban run-off, industrial wastewater, and chemicals used in the water treatment process, and the nature of the piping or hardware used to convey the water, i.e., the plumbing. In India according to the BIS standards, the maximum desired TDS level is 300 milligrams per litre.