How much safe water is available is more relevant than the mere availability of water. Discuss in the light of Swachh Bharat, Namami Gange etc.

Civil Services Main Examination

General Studies (Paper - 3) : Model Question & Answers The question how much safe water is available is more relevant than the mere availability of water. Discuss in the light of new initiatives of government of India like Swachh Bharat, Namami Gange etc.

Safe Water: Effective Water Treatment

  • The quality of water is measured by some parameters like biological oxygen demand level, level of total coliform, while for ground water, level of trace elements, extent of saline- fresh water interface.

  • The river get contaminated mainly due to inefficient functioning of Effluent Treatment Plants, CETPs (Common Effluent Treatment Plants), STPs (sewage treatment Plants).

  • In case of ground water contamination takes place due to excessive withdrawal of ground water resulting in land salinity, saline water overlying fresh water aquifer, the presence of fluoride minerals in both igneous and sedimentary rocks, use of arsenic and its compound in pigment as pesticides and herbicides

Arsenic Menace

  • Arsenic, a carcinogen, is probably the most dangerous component out of all the natural contaminants.

  • Asia is the most arsenic affected area. The two asian countries which are seriously affected are China and Taiwan

  • The most seriously affected countries in South East Asia are situated in the river basins of Ganga, Brahmaputra and Mekong covering India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

  • The food chain is also likely to get affected resulting in toxic implication affecting communities who do not even live in arsenic polluted zones.

Steps to be taken

  • There should be conservation and refurbishing of old surface water sources such as ponds, lakes etc.

  • Public private partnership for implementation should be attempted with adequate supervision by agencies.

  • There is a need of proper monitoring, surveillance and risk management for the mitigation of arsenic menace.

  • Food safety measures should be given maximum attention to control entry of arsenic in food chain.

Open defecation

  • It causes contamination of ground water.

  • Of human excreta,faeces are most dangerous to health; diarrhoeal diseases are the most faeco-oral disease causing more than one million deaths globally.

  • There is aneed for safe management of faecal waste right from emptying, transport, and treatment to reuse or disposal.


  • The Swachh Bharat Mission of central government which intends to eliminate open defecation completely by 2019 is a right step towards this problem.

  • National policies and state policies in these areas like Sanitation, hygiene and safe water should formed and complemented each other.

  • By knowing the acquifer status of ground water, various remedial actions such as recharging, rain water harvesting removing ground water contamination can be undertaken in a joint collaborative arrangement between stakeholders and government.

  • There is a need to implement the basin level water management concept, rather than river centric approach. The Namamigange programme is a good example for applying this concept to some extent.

  • A massive awareness building program for various stakeholders should be called at centre, state and sub national levels.


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