INDIA – As summer sets in, India’s Package Drinking Water Association has warned that around two-thirds of the packaged drinking water consumed in the country may possibly be just tap water or groundwater.
Water shortage in India becomes a serious problem in the summer, and many families in the city of Indore – particularly in areas like Regal, Palsia, Shrinagar, Tukogani, Vijay Nagar, Scheme no. 54 and colonies on Ring Road and the city outskirts - depend on packaged drinking water for consumption.
Yet often time, the packaged drinking water sold has not been properly processed.
According to association secretary Vijay Agrawal, out of the 53 bottling plants supplying packaged water in Indore – the largest city in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh - only 18 have ISI certificates.
“Most of these illegal plants just fill 20-litre jars with tap water or groundwater and sell it as processed drinking water,” said Agrawal.
Tapesh Saraswati, a hydrogeologist, commented, "The market is filled with sub-standard packaged drinking water. Also present among them are duplicates of branded packaged drinking water.
“People are being fooled on the name of packaged water. Food department should take action against these bottling plants and random checks should be brought into practice.''
According to food and safety government official Manish Swami, many of the illegal packaging plants operate on the outskirts of the city in areas such as Ring Road, Saver Road, Dushara Maidan, and use mainly groundwater.
Surendra Chouhan, a water supplier, said, "There is so much demand for package water that it hardly matter that water is certified or not. Even people don't ask about certification of water.”
Another water supplier, Shivprashad Chouhan, was initially a farmer who recently converted three acre of his land into a packaging plant. He says he makes more money selling water than farming: "My land has enough ground water. I sell around 20 tankers of water everyday along with a few hundred jars of packaged water of 20 liter capacity."