Monitoring microbial drinking water quality in India: Policy timeline & trajectory

Research output: Working paper


Drinking water quality monitoring has become increasingly important as Indian water policy has developed. Delivery of drinking water services, including water quality monitoring has been decentralised to local government bodies: Panchyat Raj Institutions in rural areas and Urban Local Bodies (Municipal Corporations, Municipal Councils and Nagar Panchayat) in urban areas. In rural areas, where laboratory facilities for water quality testing are limited, Gram Panchyats (village level local government) have been assigned responsibility for testing village water sources using field test kits. State level policy in Andhra Pradesh has favoured „parallel bodies‟ for decentralised service delivery (including water user groups, NGOs and self-help groups) although it is not clear how this has affected water quality monitoring. The 2006 & 2009 National Rural Drinking Water Quality Monitoring and Surveillance Programme Guidelines set out testing regimes for rural areas which state that 1) all village sources should be tested using H2S at least 4 times per year; and 2) testing should be conducted by two local people, one a member of the Village Water and Sanitation Committee (preferably a women) and one should be the local Accredited Social Health Activist who reports to the National Rural Health Mission. There is an apparent lack of clarity about responsibility for funding the re-occurring costs of water quality testing, with some policy documents suggesting these should be covered by a community contribution & others that they should be supported by the state. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the Water Quality Monitoring and Surveillance Programme Guidelines are not being followed in many areas. The most recent policy documents describe a paradigm shift towards using water quality monitoring explicitly to reduce the health impacts of consuming unsafe drinking water involving working more closely with the health sector and potentially expanding testing regimes
Translated title of the contributionMonitoring microbial drinking water quality in India: Policy timeline & trajectory
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Bristol
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Other identifier: Aquatest Working Paper 02/09


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    Lucas, P. J.


    Project: Research

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