Drinking Water Standards In India

Water is the basis of all life on Earth. But we all take it for granted and have been mismanaging and exploiting water reserves for centuries, which has led to the deterioration of the water quality. Especially in a country like India where there is poor water treatment and high-level pollution, there is an extensive need for proper water sanitation facilities and improved water quality.

India is a vast country and it attracts umpteen tourists because of the diverse terrain and elaborate culture. Celebrated for its traditions and vibrant geographies, India entices oodles of travellers all throughout the year. But travelling in India also has a second aspect to it - there are myriad problems faced by the tourists, including bad travel infrastructure, accommodation, women/ men harassment etc. One of the many cumbersome problems is the water crisis.

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind while travelling in India:

Problems Faced By The Tourists in India

India is a country with a population of about 1 billion and has always faced the challenge of clean, pollution- free water. Roughly half the population practices open defecation. A vast majority of India's water supply is contaminated with sewage and agricultural runoff, containing high levels of arsenic, fluorine, iron, saline and other contaminants which seep to the groundwater and makes it unfit for drinking. To top that, there are poor hygiene practices, poor sanitation and treatment facilities, which makes one-third of the entire groundwater reserves unfit for consumption. Hence, it is highly advisable to not use tap water for drinking or consumption purposes and be on your own safeguard because this water is mostly contaminated. The tap water available here is just a cocktail of bacteria and impurities.

The problem with the drinking tap water could be many. Sometimes it is just muddy, discoloured water which can be filtered with a simple cartridge filter. But mostly the water is contaminated with deadly bacteria and can pose serious health risks. Dissolved chemicals like- arsenic and heavy metals can result in permanent deformities. So it is recommended to only use packaged or bottled water while travelling in India.

Best Safe Drinking Water in India

Only drinking pure clean water is one of the most important things you can do for your health while travelling in India. It is advisable to only consume bottled water. Also, make sure it is from the most reputed international brands. It is advised to not go for local brands as they might have an inept filtration process and can pose risks to your health. Most recommended water bottle brands are Bisleri, Kinley and Aquafina are available practically everywhere in India. The reason why you should trust these is that they are all owned by giant companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi and so have high filtration process and usually the highest standards.

Drinking water standards in india
Source (Flickr)
Just in case bottled water is not available, you should go for Pocket Water Filters and can filter regular water from rivers and wells instead of consuming it directly. Another more affordable product is Steripen which uses UV to destroy harmful microorganisms in water.

To be 100% safe, it is also good to use iodine tablets and to boil the water for 15-20 minutes to be certain that all harmful bacteria and other impurities have been killed.

The Rebottling Scam

The rebottling scam is one of the major concerns for tourists travelling in India. Most vendors get hold of old used bottles of genuine water and refill it with tap water. They then glue the lid back on and resell them as sealed bottles. More than dishonestly, this water is unhealthy and unfit for drinking.

Make sure you don't act complacent and check for a proper seal

· Check for a broken or a semi-broken seal on the bottle cap.

· Check for the popping clicks when you take off the cap. If you hear it, it is a genuine sealed bottle.

· In case there is no sound, demand your money back and crush the bottle in front of the vendor to make sure he doesn't use it again.

Also, check for duplicate names on similar-looking brands.


Drinking water standards in india
Source (Flickr)

Stay Hydrated

India is mostly a hot, dry country with daytime temperatures ranging between 25C- 40C. It is of utmost importance to stay hydrated to battle the heat. You should drink at least 2 litres (1/2 a gallon) per day in order to remain healthy. In the case of hiking, trekking and other adventure activities, you will need even more.

Fresh coconut water is healthy and extremely good at hydrating and revitalising your system, giving you the much-needed electrolytes. We still advise you to be careful and check for the cleanliness of both straw and the knife which the vendor is using.

drinking water standards in india
Source (Flickr)
You can also consume fresh fruit juices from premium juice shops. Make sure you check for the rotten fruits because they are put in the blender and if the water/ice used is purified or not. But just to be on the safer side, it is advisable to use packaged juices and lemon drinks to avoid any kind of possible bacteria and disease.

You can also go for packaged Mango Frooty and carbonated drinks like Coke, Thumbs Up, etc. to keep yourself hydrated and clear of the polluted water.

You can also choose to invest in a personal water filter by LifeStraw.

Drinking water standards in india
Source (Flickr)

The bottom line is to be super careful to minimise the risk of sickness and make the most of the trip. So, better be safe than sorry!

This post was published by Aqsa Aleem

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