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Water Quality Management in India R.M.Bhardwaj

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Water Quality Management in India R.M.Bhardwaj Central Pollution Control Board (Ministry of Environment & Forests) ‘Parivesh Bhawan\', East Arjun Nagar Delhi – 110 032 E-mail : [email protected], [email protected] India at a Glance Area 3.28 million sq km (2% of world ’ s total )

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Water Quality Management in India


Central Pollution Control Board(Ministry of Environment & Forests)‘Parivesh Bhawan\', East Arjun NagarDelhi – 110 032

E-mail : [email protected], [email protected]


India at a Glance

Area 3.28 million sq km (2% of world’s total )

Population(2001) 1020 million(16% of world’s total)

(2005) 1060 million

Coordinates 80 4’ and 3706’ North latitudes

6807’ and 97025 East longitudes

Climate Tropical (Tropic of cancer divides India two halves)

Land Frontier 15,200 km

Coastline 7,500 km

No.of States/UTs 28 States and 7 Union territories including the National Capital Region of


water is precious and scarce resource
Water is Precious and scarce Resource
  • India is one of the wettest country in the world, but rainfall is highly uneven with time and space (with extremely low in Rajasthan and high in North-East)
  • On an average there are only 40 rainy days (100 hours)
  • Out of 4000 BCM rainfall received, about 600 BCM is put to use so far.
  • Water resources are over-exploited resulting in major WQ problems


  • Water quality monitoring in India started in 1978 under GEMS Programme.
  • National programme of Monitoring of Indian National Aquatic Resources started in 1984 with a total of 120 stations in 10 River Basins.
  • Present network comprising of 870 stations extended to 26 states & 5 Union Territories.
  • Monitoring done or Quarterly/Monthly/Half Yearly basis.
  • Monitoring network covers 189 Rivers, 53 Lakes, 4 Tanks, 2 Ponds, 3 Creeks, 3 Canals, 9 Drains and 218 wells.
  • Water samples are analysed for 9 Core Parameters (pH, Temperature, Conductivity, DO, BOD, Nitrite, Nitrate, Total Coliform and Faecal Coliform) for all monitoring. 19 General Parameters, 9 Toxic Metals and 15 Pesticides are also analysed once in a year.
  • Frequency of analysis for General Parameters reduced to once in a year in view of resources and to add more stations in non-represented water-bodies. Frequency and Parameters does not match the guidelines of GEMS. Base-line, Trend and Impact stations are maintained as per the guidelines of GEMS.

Parameters for National Water Quality Monitoring

Core Parameters (9)

Field Observations (7)

Bio-Monitoring Parameters (3)

General Parameters (19)

Trace Metals (9)

Pesticide (7)


For rational planning of pollution control strategies and their prioritisation;To assess nature and extent of pollution control needed in different water bodies or their part;To evaluate effectiveness of pollution control measures already in existence; To evaluate water quality trend over a period of time;To assess assimilative capacity of a water body thereby reducing cost on pollution control;To understand the environmental fate of different pollutants. To assess the fitness of water for different uses.

Objective of Water Quality Monitoring



  • River/Stream
  • Water intake point - community water supply.
  • Large/medium polluting industries or cluster of SSI.
  • Religious bathing.
  • Source of river – pristine quality.
  • Filling up long distance between existing stations.
  • D/S of large irrigated areas.
  • Low flow stretches.
  • D/S of big cities.
  • U/S and D/S of confluence of rivers.
  • Inter-state boundaries.
  • Lake/Reservior/Pond/Tank
  • Water abstraction point.
  • Organised bathing.
  • Vicinity of significant outfall.
  • Recreational purpose.
  • Canal
  • Irrigation offtake.
  • D/S of wastewater outfall.
  • Intake point – drinking water.
  • Groundwater
  • Drinking water source located in insanitary condition – sewage cesspool, septic tank, garbage dump, shallow aquifer.
  • Tube-wells, hand-pumps or dugwells in industrial area.

Outcome of National Monitoring Programme

  • Every year a compendium of water quality statistics is published and circulated to various scientific institutes and processed data is put on the web site for easy access.
  • Basin sub basin Inventory of water pollution is prepared and published for all the major river basins in the country.
  • Water quality atlas is prepared to assess the fitness of river water for desired uses in the country.
  • Water quality data is used for Identification of Polluted Water Bodies based on violation of desired water quality criteria for designated uses.
  • Water quality data formed the basis for Formulation of River Action Plan and Identification of Pollution Sources in 157 cities for interception and diversion of municipal wastewater and stricter surveillance of industrial sources.
  • Water quality data is used for Query Response i.e. to reply Parliament Questions, VIP reference, Public Queries, Public Interest Litigation filed in Supreme Court and Various High Courts and to fulfill the requirement of Non Governmental Organisation, Students, and Researchers.
  • Providing data to GEMS Programme on Water on annual basis for 72 stations for global data base.

Constraints in Maintaining the Network

  • Sustainability of infrastructure and maintenance of instruments and equipments.
  • Financial as well as Manpower resources are inadequate and reducing due to policy shift.
  • Travel to long distances for monitoring and preservation of samples in warm weather conditions adversely affect the results.
  • Analysis results needs in-depth validation and repeated interaction with laboratories.
  • Improper reporting of units, variation in analysis methods and quality control of chemicals are cause of concern.
  • Lack of training for laboratory and field staff.
  • Lack of software to analyse the data for trend analyses and data validation.

Limitations of Monitoring Programme

  • Problems in data validation due to fluctuation in water quality.
  • Flow in many rivers dwindles due to short period of monsoon.
  • Environmental flows are not maintained, hence only urban wastewater flows in the rivers after major abstraction points.
  • Removal of outliers during validation of data may devoid valuable information related to flushing of Industrial effluents responsible for episodal pollution and fish kill.
  • Need of software for processing, validation/trend analyses and format data storage.
  • Priorities for water quality management varies widely from developed countries to developing countries.


Analysis of 11 years data with respect to BOD values as indicator of organic pollution

identification of polluted water bodies
  • CPCB identified 10 polluted stretches for prioritising pollution control efforts in 1988-89.
  • The Number of Stretches increased to 37 during 1992-93.
  • The list is now revised to 86 polluted stretches.
  • The concerned State Pollution Control Boards were asked to take adequate measures to restore the desired level.


  • CPCB identified polluted water bodies, which leads to formulation of action plan for restoration of the water body.
  • Based on CPCB’s Recommendations, Ganga Action Plan was launched in 1986 to restore the WQ of the Ganga by interception, diversion and treatment of wastewater from 27 cities/towns located along the river.
  • Based on the experience gained during implementation of the Ganga Action Plan, Govt of India extends river cleaning programme to other rivers and lakes.