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New Delhi : The National Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) has launched an innovation challenge in partnership with Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade to develop portable devices for water testing. The main objective of the exercise is to bring an innovative, modular, and cost-effective solution to develop portable devices that can be used at the household level to test the drinking water quality instantly, easily and accurately.

Water quality testing is one of the priority areas under Jal Jeevan Mission, the flagship programme of Union Government. The aim of the innovation challenge is to ensure that water sources are tested at various locations, at different levels; thereby, helping the policy framers design programmes which address the water contamination issues.

Since announcement of the JJM, till December 23, 2020, so far 2.90 Crore households have been provided tap water connections increasing the tap water supply from 3.23 Crore (17%) in August, 2019, to 6.13 Crore (32%) rural households of the country. Further, every household in 20 districts, 425 blocks, 34 thousand Gram Panchayats and 64 thousand villages of the country now have access to tap water connection, according to a PIB release.

People receiving piped water supply at their homes do not have any means to test the potability of water coming from their taps. This leads to a situation wherein, quite often, people are reluctant to consume tap water directly. People in urban areas also end up installing household water treatment units incurring additional expenditure. The challenge aims to address these issues in an innovative, modular and cost-effective manner.

Drinking water supply in rural areas is both from groundwater (80%) and surface water (20%) sources. However, due to the depleting groundwater level, especially in arid and semi-arid regions, the use of surface water is on the rise.

For both groundwater and surface water based rural drinking water supply systems, it is important to measure relevant area-specific contaminations to ensure access to potable water. The Uniform Drinking Water Quality Protocol, 2019, has specified some important parameters to be monitored for assuring portability of drinking water as per BIS IS 10500:2012 and subsequent amendments.

JJM is under implementation in partnership with the States to enable every rural home to have tap water connection by 2024. The aim of the mission is to provide every rural household potable tap water in adequate quantity and of prescribed quality on a regular and long-term basis.