Monsoon Mayhem: How Floods Affect Quality Of Drinking Water In India

Har Ek Boond

The 2019 Monsoon has wreaked havoc in most parts of the country with excessive floods; here's what you need to know about its effects on the quality of water

Written By Debolina Datta | Mumbai | Updated On:
Climate Change

Freshwater is an essential element for human survival. It is generally found in the forms of groundwater and surface water. Other than being a source of drinking water, it is also used for irrigation, freshwater pisciculture, daily chores and industrial purposes as well. Humans are yet to realise that freshwater is a finite resource and needs to be conserved for it to be available for our future generations as well.  

The rainfall is a major source of freshwater. The quality of rainwater, however, depends on the surface itself, as the water evaporated in coastal areas tend to contain sodium, and particles from the sand as well. Rainfall in industrial areas are acidic due to the chemical fumes that are evaporated along with the water. The rainwater, hence, needs to purified in order to be safe for drinking or irrigation purposes.  

Excessive rainfall can lead to contamination 

Excessive rainfall on the surface of Earth can, however, lead to floods, that have been stated to be both hazardous and useful. Floods is the overflowing of surface water bodies during heavy and incessant rainfall. The areal or urban flooding affects the quality of water as the accumulated water on the surface starts stagnating. Majority of the water is absorbed by the soil; however, large quantities of water leads to partial absorption and degradation of the fertile land.  

 ALSO READ: IMD States That The Seasonal Monsoon Rains Have Set New Records

How do floods affect drinking water? 

While most states in India depend on groundwater and stored rainwater for drinking, many states in the southern part of the country depend on wells. Flooding of riverbeds or other surface water bodies usually lead to an overflow of water into the streets and into storage systems like wells or rainwater harvesting. The water flowing through the streets collects unhygienic particles like excretion, mud or other pollutants and contaminates the water that is stored in wells or similar open storages. The contaminated water bodies take a long time for purification for being fit to drink. 

ALSO READ: IMD: India Records Highest Ever Rain In Monsoon Season Since 1994

Earth is called the blue planet because of its quantity of surface water, however, every day, drinkable water becomes scarcer due to contamination or climate change. Excessive rainfalls are sometimes useful in upgrading soil quality, recharging groundwater and spreading nutrients across lands. However, excessive floods can lead to loss of life, and affect usable water. As floods are a natural calamity, we don’t have a hold over, we can make small changes in our habits to help in reducing the unpredictable climate and natural changes that have been occurring around us.  

By 2030, 40% Indians will not have access to drinking water