Chennai’s groundwater safe for consumption?

Ahead of the northeast monsoon, earlier this month, the Chennai Metro Water Board conducted a survey to test groundwater quality.

Published: 26th September 2021 05:52 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th September 2021 05:52 AM   |  A+A-

water scarcity

Image used for representational purpose only

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Ahead of the northeast monsoon, earlier this month, the Chennai Metro Water Board conducted a survey to test groundwater quality. It revealed the levels of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), a measure of dissolved combined content of all inorganic and organic substances in the groundwater, were found between 500 and 1,800 parts per million (ppm) among the 15 corporation zones.

Although the levels fall within the permissible limits of 2,000 ppm, experts and waterbody protection activists are of the opinion the quality of water is worse. “Every year, we conduct the survey at random places across all the 15 zones. This year, water quality is found to be good and the ppm will further decrease once the rains begin,” said an official from the Metro Water Board.

According to the data, Perungudi zone had the highest maximum ppm level of 1,800, followed by Sholinganallur (1,700), Anna Nagar and Madhavaram (1,600 each), and Thiru Vi Ka Nagar and Adyar (1,500 each). Thiruvottiyur and Alandur corporation zones recorded the best water quality with TDS under the 1,000 ppm mark.

Groundwater resources have played a vital role in meeting the additional demand by households and industries. However, indiscriminate utilisation of groundwater has also led to a rapid fall in the city’s water tables. 

‘Transparent survey must’

“If the quality of the water is as good as what is being claimed, it can be purified using household water purifiers and taken for drinking purpose. But, that is definitely not the case in Chennai,” said S Janakarajan, president of South Asia Consortium for Interdisciplinary Water Resource Studies.

North Chennai is affected by sea intrusion and TDS levels go beyond 3,000 ppm there, he claimed. Sewage is being blatantly let into waterbodies, thereby contaminating groundwater, said R Subbramani, an activist, adding such surveys must be done transparently.

In your water

1,800 ppm Highest maximum TDS level (In Perungudi zone of Chennai corporation)

Sholinganallur 1,700

Anna Nagar 1,600

TDS: Total Dissolved Solids


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