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R.M.Bhardwaj Senior Scientist

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WATER QUALITY MANAGEMENT IN INDIA ACHIEVEMENTS AND CONSTRAINTS. R.M.Bhardwaj Senior Scientist Central Pollution Control Board (Ministry of Environment & Forests) ‘Parivesh Bhawan', East Arjun Nagar Delhi – 110 032 E-mail : NATIONAL WATER QUALITY MONITORING PROGRAMME.

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Senior Scientist

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

E-mail :

national water quality monitoring programme


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.

The present network comprises of 1700 stations in 27 States and 6 Union Territories spread over the country.

Monitoring is carried out on Monthly and Half Yearly basis.

Monitoring network covers 353 Rivers (979 stations), 107 Lakes (117 stations), 9 Tanks, 44 Ponds, 8 Creeks/Seawater (15 stations), 14 Canals (27 stations), 18 Drains and 491 Wells.

national water quality monitoring programme contd
National Water Quality Monitoring Programme(contd.)
  • Water samples are analysed for 9 Core Parameters (pH, Temperature, Conductivity, DO, BOD, Nitrite, Nitrate, Total Coliform and Faecal Coliform) 19 General Parameters, 9 Toxic Metals and 15 Pesticides.

Parameters for National Water Quality Monitoring

Core Parameters (9)

Field Observations (7)

Bio-Monitoring Parameters (3)

General Parameters (19)

Trace Metals (9)

Pesticide (7)



  • 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.


Analysis of long term data with respect to BOD (indicator of organic pollution)

identification of polluted water bodies
  • CPCB identified 10 polluted stretches for prioritising pollution control efforts in 1988-89.
  • Number of Stretches increased to 37 during 1992-93, 86 during 2001 and 178 during 2006
  • Priority action planned in 2009.
  • Polluted Rivers prioritised in five categories(BOD> 30 mg/l, Between 20-30 mg/l, Between 20-10 mg/l, Between 6-10 mg/l and Between 3-6 mg/l).
  • The efforts are initiated by concerned Agencies 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 water quality of River 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 extended river cleaning programme to other rivers.
strengthening of water quality monitoring network
Strengthening of water Quality Monitoring Network
  • Number of monitoring stations will be increased to 2500 during 11th Plan and 5000 during 12th Plan.
  • The optimum network to cover all the surface water bodies would be about 10000 monitoring stations.
  • Monitoring of micro pollutants will be strengthened with quality assurance.
  • Optimization of monitoring locations, parameters and frequency of monitoring.
major water quality issues
Major Water Quality Issues
  • Common issues of Surface and Ground water
  • Pathogenic (Bacteriological) Pollution
  • Salinity
  • Toxicity (micro-pollutants and other industrial pollutants)
  • Surface Water
  • Eutrophication
  • Oxygen depletion
  • Ecological health
  • Ground Water
  • Fluoride
  • Nitrate
  • Arsenic
  • Iron
  • Sea water intrusion

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 (38 rivers) and Identification of Pollution Sources in 167 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 consistent training for laboratory and field staff.

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.
  • Removal of outliers during validation of data may devoid valuable information related to flushing of Industrial effluents responsible for episodal pollution and fish kill.
major factors responsible for wq degradation
Major Factors Responsible for WQ Degradation
  • Municipal Sewage: 423 class I cities and 499 class II towns harboring population of 300 million generate about 38271 mld of wastewater of which only 11787 mld is treated. Treatment capacity address to about 30% of municipal sewage.
  • Domestic sewage is the major source of pollution in India in surface water which contribute pathogens, the main source of water borne diseases along with depletion of oxygen in water bodies.
  • Industrial Effluents: About 57,000 polluting industries in India generate about 13,468 mld of wastewater out of which nearly 60% (generated from large & medium industries) is treated.
major factors responsible contd
Major Factors Responsible (contd.)
  • Sewage along with agricultural run-off and industrial effluents also contributes large amount of nutrients in surface water causing eutrophication
  • A large part of the domestic sewage is not even collected. This results in stagnation of sewage within city and contaminate the groundwater which is the only source of drinking water in large number of cities.
  • Non-point sources also contribute significant pollution loads mainly in rainy season. Pesticides consumption is about 1,00,000 tonnes /year of which AP, Haryana, Punjab, TN, WB, Gujarat, UP and Maharashtra are principal consumers
what needs to be done
What Needs to be done
  • Preparation of proper action plan and implementation to achieve the desire water quality is required.
  • In some polluted river stretches due to lack of assimilative capacity, stringent effluent discharge standard for industries are required to be prescribed.
  • In some polluted river stretches, e.g. Delhi stretches of Yamuna, dilution water is required to meet the desired water quality criteria.
  • Seven States which are using 90% of pesticide for Agriculture activity, surface / ground water is required to be monitor critically with respect to pesticides residue.
what needs to be done contd
What Needs to be done (Contd..)
  • 90% of the class II cities are not having any treatment of domestic waste water. Phase wise this waste water should be treated and disposed.
  • Water recycle and reuse should be given major thrust.
  • Rain water harvesting should be promoted in all the developmental activities.
  • Interlinking of river(s) to be experimented and expedited to made available more water in polluted river to achieve the desired water quality.
thanks for patience dedicated to water quality mangers