Drinking water, sipping poison

India’s water quality problem is reaching crisis proportions, and today at least 1.95 crore habitations are affected by poor water quality. Over 3.6 crore people are exposed to health hazards owing to drinking water containing excess arsenic, fluoride, iron, salinity or nitrate. 66 million Indians are at risk due to excess fluoride and more than six million have already been crippled by high fluoride content in drinking water. In some cases such contamination occurs due to the over-exploitation of groundwater. Besides metal poisoning, bacterial contamination affects at least 37.7 million Indians annually, with 1.5 million child fatalities due to diarrhea. Urgent investments are needed to stave off the crisis of water quality focusing on water treatment solutions such as reverse osmosis, and also on improving water storage infrastructure so that the water table is recharged.