The pitter-patter of monsoon rain brings joy and the much-needed relief from the scorching summer. However, like a two-headed monster, monsoon also brings the threat of various diseases. A heavy downpour can cause water stagnation on the road for a long time, which increases the risks of water-borne illnesses as it can contaminate the sources of drinking water by seeping into damaged pipes, underground storage tanks etc.
How tap water gets contaminated during monsoon
Most water pipelines run underground in many big cities. During monsoon, the subsoil water level rises and seeps through leaky pipes and contaminates the drinking water that runs into the kitchen taps. Various housing colonies and buildings have underground storage tanks in which contaminated water may trickle too.
Secondly, many underground pipes are old and may leach heavy metals into the water due to corrosion. This increases the risk of metallic contamination.
Another dangerous type of cross-contamination during monsoon is caused by the mixing of sewage waterline with a drinking water line. Human or animal wastes contain various microorganisms that can cause debilitating diseases such as typhoid, diarrhoea, jaundice, cholera etc.
Is your tap water fit for direct consumption?
To meet global standards, many cities in India are now making their water potable for direct consumption. One city among them is the metropolitan city of Mumbai. The municipal authorities in Mumbai have declared that the city’s water is potable, meaning one can drink water straight from the tap. The authorities may have purified the water at the source, however, some of the water pipelines in the city are placed on the ground while others are laid close to sewage lines, hence this increases the possibility of contamination.
Moreover, if your apartment septic tank is not cleaned and maintained well, drinking water directly from the tap may not be a safe bet.
Tips for drinking safe water this monsoon
Dr. Sheenu Gupta (MBBS, DCH, DNB, MNAMS) says monsoon is a time when people should give extra attention to their drinking water. “Many people find drinking water directly from the kitchen tap much more convenient. But they do not realise that contamination of tap water is quite likely during monsoon, and this may result in a spurt in monsoon related diseases like diarrhoea, typhoid, jaundice etc.
Enlisted below are some of the ways in which you can ensure your drinking water is safe for consumption –
Clean your apartment’s plumbing system – many residents complain about water contamination to the authorities only to find out later that their apartment’s plumbing lines are compromised. Make it a point to periodically clean out the entire water tank and plumbing pipes in your apartment so that water does not get contaminated with microorganisms and other harmful particles.
Purify water before drinking – avoid drinking water straight from the tap. Tap water may contain disease-causing microorganisms harmful for your health. Boiling water is an easy option to purify drinking water, but if the water is not brought to a rolling boil or covered with a loosely fitted lid it is easy for the boiled water to get contaminated again, defeating the whole purpose of boiling water. Secondly, it also consumes large amounts of cooking gas making it an expensive option.
Another way to purify water is by using domestic water purifiers, however, ensure that their maintenance is carried out periodically and they are working in optimum condition. RO filters are designed in such a way that they remove the hard salts from the water and in doing so they eliminate the essential minerals too. Hence, drinking mineral water intermittently may help in maintaining the mineral balance in the body.
Carry water from home – or opt for tender coconut water when outside instead of fruit juice or sherbet from roadside vendors who use contaminated water and ice.
Avoid local/unreliable water sources – Their purification and quality standards can be questionable and untrustworthy. Although their water may look clean, it may still be contaminated with microbes which would make it unfit for drinking. Avoid risking your health by choosing local bottled water brands. Instead choose packaged mineral water from reputed companies as they follow strict purification systems and quality standards.
Monsoon is a time when water-borne diseases peak and safeguarding our health is in our own hands. Drinking safe water and maintaining a good hygiene will help everyone enjoy the monsoon season healthily and happily
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