Indian Standards pertaining to drinking water [Bureau of Indian Standards]

The Union Minister for Consumer Affairs informed Lok Sabha that the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has made two Indian Standards pertaining to drinking water.

These are namely

  • IS 10500:2012 on Drinking Water – Specification and
  • IS 17482:2020 on Drinking Water Supply Management System – Requirements for Piped Drinking Water Supply.

BIS quality standards are not mandatory for civic agencies engaged in supplying drinking water to houses across the country.

Water Supply is a State subject and it is the responsibility of the State Government/Urban Local Bodies to plan, design, execute, operate and maintain the water supply systems.

Drinking water sources are subject to contamination and require appropriate treatment to remove disease-causing agents. Public drinking water systems use various methods of water treatment to provide safe drinking water for their communities.

Standards pertaining to drinking water

Drinking water is purified water that is considered safe enough to drink. It is produced either by mechanical energy or chemical energy or by a combination of both methods.

Water from different sources like bore wells, tube-wells, rivers, lakes, ponds, and other natural sources needs to be purified before consumption. This process of purification includes various steps. The first step in the purification process is filtration.

Filtration removes the suspended particles present in water. It involves the passage of water through a filtering medium like sand and gravel and charcoal which helps to remove the suspended particles. Filtration makes water clear and free from turbidity.

The second step in the purification process involves disinfection of water with chemicals like chlorine, bleaching powder, etc., which destroys harmful microorganisms as well as bacteria present in water. Disinfection kills harmful bacteria and microorganisms which cause diseases like cholera, typhoid, and dysentery.

Water supplied to homes after treatment at treatment plants is usually chlorinated to kill any remaining microorganisms in order to make it safe for human consumption. Chlorination is a necessary step since most water treatment plants use reservoirs and schemes which may be contaminated with animal wastes or agricultural run-off.

Why is water quality important?

Every year, over 3.4 million people die from water-related diseases. In fact, water-related diseases are the leading cause of death for children under the age of 5. This is because a lack of access to clean drinking water and proper sanitation brings about sickness and disease that often lead to death.

These deaths can be prevented with safe drinking water and improved sanitation facilities. But, according to the UN, 844 million people lack basic drinking water services and 2.3 billion people don’t have a place to safely go to the toilet.

In addition to health and safety concerns, poor water quality has an economic impact on countries around the world. For example, India loses 6% of its GDP due to inadequate sanitation alone.

By supporting access to clean drinking water and toilets in developing countries, we can help prevent illness and death while also boosting their economies so they can lift themselves out of poverty.

About Bureau of Indian Standards

Bis was established under the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 1986 to provide for the harmonious development of the activities of standardization, marking, and quality certification of goods and attending to connected matters in the country.

BIS is the National Standard Body of India established under the BIS Act 2016 for the harmonious development of the activities of standardization, marking, and quality certification of goods and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

BIS has been providing traceability of quality products having an ISI mark which indicates that such products have been produced as per Indian Standards specified by BIS. The IS code number is marked on such products along with the license number of the manufacturer.

The major objective of BIS is to promote the harmonious development of activities in standardization, marking and quality certification of goods, and attending to connected matters in the country.

Some of the important functions of BIS include:

  1. To formulate, recognize and publish standards in relation to goods, processes and practices.
  2. To promote standardization and quality control of goods, processes and practices by providing technical services including testing, calibration and assaying.
  3. To co-ordinate with national/ international bodies on standardization and Quality Assurance matters in India as well as abroad.