Reports on Gujarat WQMS Labs

Reports on Gujarat WQMS Labs

This study is based on Water quality Monitoring and its systamatic follow up at the WQMS Labs in Gujarat. As all we know that monitoring the Water Quality  Monitoring labs are the mandatory activity suggested by Jal Jeveen Mission (JJM) Government of India. This report has been approved by UNICEF Gujarat and Gujarat State Government.


Executive Summary

1. The State of Gujarat faces several problems of chemical contaminations of water due

to presence of Fluoride, Nitrate etc. in water, Salinity and bacteriological contamination

due to presence of Coliform and E.coli. The water quality needs to be tested in a

systematic manner. However, safe water can only be guaranteed not merely through

testing of water quality but through a comprehensive water quality monitoring and

surveillance system, which are distinct but closely related activities.

2. The State has established one Central Lab, thirty three District Labs and forty nine

Taluka Labs for testing water quality. The labs need to function efficiently and maintain

good standard for producing standard and replicable results and there should be sound

system of surveillance to ensure that water samples are brought for testing covering the

entire geographical area and more emphasis is given on areas with higher incidence of

water contamination.

3. The State Government is in the process of improving the water testing labs but the

quality of performance of the labs judged by NRDWP Guidelines and Jal Jeevan

Mission’s norms are not known to the state. So, the Water Supply and Management

Organization (WASMO) of the State, desired to have an independent assessment of the

performance of the water testing laboratories. UNICEF Gujarat State office came

forward to extend support and partnered with SIGMA Foundation, a ‘not for profit’

organization working across the country for taking up the assessment.

4. It was decided, in consultation with WASMO, to select labs of each type, i.e., District

labs and Taluka labs for studying and those are to be from different types of districts

especially tribal and non-tribal. Functioning of the Central Lab at Gandhinagar was also

studied. The District and Taluka labs selected were the following: (i) Mehsana District

Laboratory (Non-Tribal), (ii) Chhota Udaypur District Level Laboratory-DLL (Tribal),

(iii) Vadodara District Laboratory-DLL (Estd: 1975, oldest Lab-Non-Tribal), (iv) (v)

Bodeli Taluka Laboratory (District Chhota Udaypur) (Tribal), (vi) Vijapur Taluka

Laboratory (District Mehsana) (Non-Tribal) and Kadi Taluka Laboratory (District


Quick View of Major Findings of the Study

• The assessment was to find out status in the above-mentioned labs and to suggest

measures, so that each laboratory achieves the target of minimum 3,000 water quality

tests per year as per Uniform Drinking Water Quality Monitoring Protocol. The study

formats looked into (i) laboratory operation team, (ii) system of sample collection and

receipt, (iii) lab infrastructure, (iv) equipment status, (v) methods of testing and (vi)

availability of documents and records.

• For Central Lab or State Referral Laboratory: Though Central laboratory is

responsible for analys the district level referral samples but there were very few samples

received in a routine manner other than special drive (pre and post monsoon).

Importantly, requisition of consumable was irregular and little communication was

observed from the HQ on policy and other aspects. Using Field Test Kit for

bacteriological quality checking at the laboratory level was a wrong practice when the

lab had the facility of using MPN technique. Testing of Fluoride through

Spectrophotometer was observed but the actual technique should be the Ion method.

This will also be applicable not only for the SRL lab but also at the district and Taluka

level laboratory. Testing equipment were almost all in place but lack of calibration as

required was also found. The record keeping and documentation was well organized at

the SRL.

• For Districts Level Laboratory: Few samples were being received other than the special

drive at the district level labs. Importantly, the requisition of consumables was irregular

and no uniform system was observed during the lab visit. Lack of communication

related to the instruction from the Department/vision of the Water Quality testing

programme Direct control/supervision on lab activities from the Head Quarter was not

observed. Also, knowledge on IEC at the field level was totally absent. Keeping water

samples for 3-5 days before testing in the lab is against the protocol. Using FTK for

bacteriological quality checking and using Spectrophotometer for Fluoride testing are

also to be changed. The calibration on a regular basis was absent but the record keeping

was well organized at district labs.

• For Taluka Level Laboratory: Water Quality Samples were the major constraint at the

Taluka Level Laboratories also. Very few samples were being received for testing

except during pre-monsoon and post-monsoon seasons. Irregularity of consumables and

lack of uniformity were also common at Taluka Labs. Interaction with senior officials

for guidance was less frequent. Also, Taluka labs were not sending the samples to

district labs for referral checking.

• Total number of tests conducted per year by the SRL as well as DLLs and Taluka Labs

of Gujarat were below the recommended norm. Water samples were tested moslty

during Pre and Post Monsoon period, which is only six around months. In the remaining

six months little samples were collected and tested. The Human Resources (HR) of the

laboratories (SRL, DLL and Taluka Lab) was found to be satisfactory but not as per

Uniform Drinking Water Quality Monitoring Protocol. Also, they were not being fully

utilized for performing as per their capacity because of lack of adequate samples round

the year.