Recent damages in Southeast Asia stemming from a tsunami reveal some of the powerful technologies available for water purification. USFilter, a Siemens company, is providing seven units capable of bringing 26,400 gallons of fresh water daily to areas affected by the tsunami.
Providing a country like India with technology similar to this can significantly improve conditions in some of the poorest regions of the World. For example, “Water For People” in Denver Colorado has focused on improving the condition of water in West Bengal India since 1996 supporting arsenic-removal filter installations in partnership with the Bengal Engineering and Science University-Shibpur (BESUS).
With the modern technologies of today, priceless filtration units such as those provided by USFilter could mean the difference between life and death for thousands in India. Other American companies also have similar technologies as a result of the hurricane Katrina tragedy.
GE recently sent a unit to Indonesia capable of generating 600 gallons of fresh water per minute. This equates to 864,000 gallons per day enough to help 220,000 people per day. This kind of technology made available to a country like India could significantly reduce some of the pressures of overpopulation, lack of sanitation, and water quality problems. Some of the water quality problems are identified in the Water For Life 2007- 2011 report as,
Fluoride (66 million people in 17 states are estimated to be at risk)
Excess arsenic in groundwater (nearly 13.8 million people in 75 blocks are reported at risk)
Varying iron levels
Presence of nitrates and heavy metals
The water quality problems in India are significant however 69 to 74 percent of the rural population and 91 to 93 percent of the urban population receive water from protected sources. This leaves 26 to 31 percent of the population unserved. Although these figures appear to be high, India’s sheer mass of populace makes the percentages unserved relatively high.
A goal of providing pure drinking water to India is not insurmountable. It will take some significant investment from companies capable of providing the technology necessary to achieve the objective however recent responses to worldwide disasters have shown the machinery and materials are available.
By increasing awareness regarding the problems India faces, as well as some of the efforts already in place, steps can be taken to improve the conditions in India. The efforts of organizations like Water For Life provide an excellent foundation in order to access recent data regarding the conditions in India. In addition, the efforts of organizations such as Bengal Engineering and Science University-Shibpur (BESUS) show that India is also interested in making progressive contributions to the plight of these people.