The current imagination of safe drinking water is limited to surface water-based drinking water supply schemes and installing large-scale water treatment systems. But these solutions are infrastructure-focused; time- and cost-intensive. People also find it difficult to maintain them.

We need simple, low-cost, easy to maintain solutions in the mix—identifying and protecting safe sources, rainwater harvesting and recharge of groundwater, improving nutritional status, and more. In other words, we need to build a basket of safe water options to pick and choose from—a different approach to water quality management in India.

Water quality management in India needs to combine actions from all the relevant sectors (including water, health, nutrition, education, women and child welfare). One way of doing this is by building networks—practitioners across fields of work can come together to take care of the different aspects that go into water quality management, such as:

  1. Define and communicate: Water quality testing, nutritional and health surveys are important to define the problem. Survey results also have to be communicated in a simple manner to support planning.
  2. Plan and budget: Based on the survey results, a planning and budgeting process needs to be facilitated with a view to mitigate the problem. The actual execution follows the planning process.
  3. Train and monitor: Local institutions at various levels are identified and strengthened to monitor the execution. These institutions also become natural custodians for managing water quality in the long run.

Read the full article about water quality management by Ayan Biswas and Vikas Ratanjee at India Development Review.