Drinking water sources in India: how safe is safe?

Under the loom of extreme climatic perturbations, human expansion and rising demand, world’s freshwater reserves are expected to suffer severe setbacks in the coming years. A major task for the international authorities in this regard is to develop a reliable inventory of existing potable water sources and identify the challenges therein. The main objective of this study was to present a spatial summary of ‘safe’ water sources in India using the most ‘authentic’, cross-sectional, open-sourced census database for 2011 ranging from household to state level. Under the present circumstances, we urge the authorities to revisit potable water source classification scheme in India, acknowledging water quality issues and devise strategies for catchment-scale protection with special emphasis on real-time continuous monitoring and assessment of the peri-urban water resources.

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