We all know that safe drinking water is essential for good health. Many of the diseases in our country are due to lack of supply of safe drinking water. ~nfortunatel~~ only 18% of the population in rural area gets reasonably safe drinking water. The vast majority of our rural and urban population depends upon surface water, i.e. water from rivers, streams, reservoirs, lakes, tanks and ponds, which generally get their water from rain. Although rain water is the purest water in nature, it becomes impure as it passes through the atmosphere or fl,ows on the ground. It gets contaminated with dust, soot, gases and micro-organisms. Therefore, surface water possesses all this contamination plus additional contamination due to human activity, such as bathing, washing clothes and utensils, or washing after passing stools. The 'water obtained from wells or tube wells, springs or handpumps is generally superior to surface water, because this water is filtered through the ground itself and is free of contamination, unless of course the handpump is not deep enough or is too close to e source of infection.
Earlier, you have learnt the names of the diseases which are spread through contaminated water. Disease rates are directly related to the quality of water supply. It has been shown that with the improvement of water supply in some of the States in India, disease rates have bee" drastically lowered. Drinking water must be free of disease-causing agents or harmful chemicals. Human activity pollutes water supply through negligence in disposing faecal matter, sewage, industrial waste, fertilisers, pesticides and radio-active wastes. In urban areas only a small proportion of our population enjoys the fac 3ty of sewerage system. Over 70% of the people living in, rural areas defecate in the open fie% leading to great hazards in spreading various bacterial diseases. Proper disposal of huma;. excreta is an essential quirement of community health. At home, drinking water can be made safe by filtration and boiling. Filtration removes most of the suspended impyrities. Disease-causing microbes are killed by boiling.