The scarcity of drinking water is looming day by day in the
Kathmandu valley. Citizens of Kathmandu are seeking different
methods for quenching their thirst. One of the blooming industries for the mitigation of water crisis is supplement of jar water. Whenever we go, we can see the cyclists carrying blue jar water bottles from place to place. Also, one can find these bottles in shops, organizations and ministries. Even the health ministry is also utilizing these jar waters. When a few of the authorities concerned were asked about the quality of this drinking water, they were found keen to know as they did not have any inkling.
When research was conducted by the Department of Microbiology of Amrit Campus on the sealed jar water under different brand names, the situation was found to be alarming. Despite the “mineral water” companies claiming to have effectively treated the water, before packaging, by multiple treatment stages- Aeration, filtration, sedimentation, UV radiation, ozonolysis, and reverse osmosis, it was proved that the maximum number of water bottled in sealed jars were contaminated with harmful bacteria, 90% of the samples were contaminated with coliform bacteria and more than 60% of the samples were contaminated with Fecal coliform. Bacterial contamination cannot be detected by sight, smell and taste. The only one reliable way to determine if the water supplies contain bacteria is to have it tested. Even, a single coli form bacteria indicates possible contamination of sewage and consumption of such water causes water borne diseases like typhoid, dysentery, and hepatitis.
In our country, nobody is concerned because the quality has been assured by the companies concerned. Even though there are different private water quality monitoring bodies, there is only one government quality monitoring office that monitors the quality of food as well as drinking water to make sure that the companies follow the proper guideline (Food Act, 2023). This means that even if a company’s output has once passed the Nepal Standard certification, their quality should be checked strictly at different intervals of time. If government bodies cannot perform this task alone, there should be collaborative effort with the private sector to bring the worsening situation under control.