, Volume 173, Issue 1-4, pp 837-849
Date: 18 Mar 2010

Contaminated drinking water and rural health perspectives in Rajasthan, India: an overview of recent case studies

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Abstract

Access to safe drinking water is an important issue of health and development at national, regional, and local levels. The concept of safe drinking water assumes greater significance in countries like India where the majority of the population lives in villages with bare infrastructures and poor sanitation facilities. This review presents an overview of drinking water quality in rural habitations of northern Rajasthan, India. Although fluoride is an endemic problem to the groundwater of this region, recently, other anthropogenic chemicals has also been reported in the local groundwater. Recent case studies indicate that about 95% of sites of this region contain a higher fluoride level in groundwater than the maximum permissible limit as decided by the Bureau of Indian Standards. Nitrate (as NO \(_{3}^{\,\,-})\) contamination has appeared as another anthropogenic threat to some intensively cultivable rural habitations of this region. Biological contamination has appeared as another issue of unsafe drinking water resources in rural areas of the state. Recent studies have claimed a wide variety of pathogenic bacteria including members of the family Enterobacteriaceae in local drinking water resources. Overall, the quality of drinking water in this area is not up to the safe level, and much work is still required to establish a safe drinking water supply program in this area.