Water Quality Assessment Authority

Government of India

institutional setup

Role of various organisations involved in Water Quality Assessment and Management

Ministry of Water Resources

                       The Ministry of Water Resources is responsible for laying down policy guidelines and programmes for the development and regulation of country's water resources. However in the field of water quality assessment and management, the role of Ministry is limited to Water Quality Assessment in the country. The Ministry is providing Secretariat support to the Water Quality Assessment Authority.

Water Quality Assessment Authority

                       The Water Quality Assessment Authority was constituted in 2001 to issue direction and for taking measures for investigations and research; establishment or recognition of environmental laboratories and institutes; collection and dissemination of information and preparation of manuals, codes or guides relating to the prevention, control and abatement of water pollution. The Authority is chaired by The Secretary to Government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests and comprises of members from Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Central Water Commission, Central Ground Water Authority, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Urban Development, Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Power, Central Pollution Control Board, Indian Agriculture Research Institute and National Institute of Environmental Engineering.
                     The main achievements of the Authority includes notification of "Uniform Protocol on Water Quality Monitoring Order 2005" for observance of uniform protocol on water quality monitoring by all organisations, agencies and any other body monitoring surface and ground water quality and finalization of Guidelines for preparation of Water Quality Management Plan. Besides this, the Authority has also organized / sponsored various seminars / workshop in the country of the matter related to water quality assessment and management.

Central Ground Water Board

                One of the important activities of Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) is to monitor ground water quality to generate background data of different chemicals constituents in ground water on a regional scale. CGWB is operating a network of about 15000 observation wells located all over the country. The location of wells are planned in order to obtain information on chemical quality through representative sampling in different hydro-geological units. On a regular basis the observation are being taken once in a year.
                   Besides this, CGWB is also involved in analyzing the water quality in deeper aquifer by conducting exploratory drilling in the country. Every year about 800 such exploratory drilling operations are carried out in the country. Special / collaborative studies are also taken up by the board based on specific requirement of certain areas.
                The Central Ground Water Board is maintaining 16 laboratories in the country, one in each of its regional offices, for conducting water quality tests. These labs are mainly involved in Testing of samples collected by Central Ground Water Board during its regular monitoring process and specific studies


Central Pollution Control Board
                  The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) is a statutory organisation constituted under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. It serves as a field formation and also provides technical services to the Ministry of Environment and Forests on matters related to the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. One of the principal functions of the CPCB is to promote cleanliness of streams and wells in the country by prevention, control and abatement of water pollution
             CPCB in collaboration with concerned State Pollution Control Boards / Pollution Control Committees has established a nationwide network of 1019 water quality monitoring stations in the country. Among the 1019 stations, 592 are on rivers, 65 on lakes, 17 on drains, 13 on canals, 5 on tanks, 3 on creeks, 3 on ponds and 321 are groundwater stations. The network covers 200 rivers, 60 lakes, 5 tanks, 3 ponds, 3 creeks, 13 canals, 17 drains and 321 wells. The monitoring is done on monthly or quarterly basis in surface waters and on half yearly basis in case of ground water.
                The water samples collected from these stations are being analysed for 28 parameters consisting of 9 core parameters, 19 other physico-chemical and bacteriological parameters apart from the field observations. Besides this, 9 trace metals and 22 pesticides are also analysed in selected samples. Bio-monitoring is also carried out on specific locations. In view of limited resources, limited numbers of organic pollution related parameters i.e. micro pollutants (Toxic Metals & POPs) are monitored and analysed once in a year. The water quality data are reported in Water Quality Status Year Book.
                The CPCB is maintaining one central laboratory at its headquarter in Delhi and six other labs each in its zonal / project offices at Agra, Bangalore, Bhopal, Kolkata, Lucknow and Vadodara. The central laboratory at Delhi is equipped with sophisticated instruments and equipment for analysis of water, air, soil and solid wastes.

Ministry of Environment & Forests

                  The Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) is the nodal agency in the administrative structure of the Central Government for the planning, promotion, co-ordination and overseeing the implementation of India's environmental and forestry policies and programmes. Some of the primary concerns of the Ministry related to water quality assessment and management are formulation and implementation of policies and programmes relating to conservation of the country's natural resources including its lakes and rivers and the prevention and abatement of pollution.
              The Ministry is also involved in the adminstartion of various acts and rules for prevention, control and abatement of water pollution in the country. Some of related acts / rules are “The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986”, “The Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act 1974”, “The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Rules, 1975”, “The Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977”, “The Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Cess Rules, 1978”.

State Pollution Control Board

                  In pursuance of the Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act 1974, all State Governments have constituted “State Pollution Control Board” for prevention and control of water pollution (and later on air pollution also). These Boards have been entrusted with the responsibility of enforcing various acts and rules related to prevention, control and abatement of water and air pollution. These acts and rules includes “The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986”, “The Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act 1974”, “The Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981”, “The Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977”, “The Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Cess Rules, 1978”
              The State Pollution Control Boards are maintaining laboratories in their respective region for testing water and waste water samples. These boards are collaborating with the Central Pollution control Board in monitoring the water quality in the country.

Central Water Commission

                  IThe Central Water Commission is supplementing the activities of water quality assessment by monitoring water quality at 371 sites located on the major rivers in the country.
              CWC is maintaining a three tier laboratory system for analysis of water samples collected from the observation sites. There are about 258 Level–I labs located on major rivers in the country having capability of analyzing 7 water quality parameter. The Level-II Labs with the capability of analysis 25 water quality parameters are located in 24 selected divisional offices of CWC. There are four (4) Level-III labs located at Coimbatore, Delhi, Hyderabad and Varanasi with capability of analyzing 41 water quality parameters including heavy metals, toxic compounds and pesticides.

Water Quality Review Committee

                  The Water Quality Assessment Authority in its 1st meeting decided to direct all state governments to constitute State Level Water Quality Review Committee (WQRC) with a view to generate of reliable water quality data; facilitation of activities for prevention and control of pollution of water bodies and improve co-ordination between central and state agencies. Accordingly, State Level WQRC have been constituted in all states except Tamil Nadu.
              The main activities of State Level WQRC are review of water quality monitoring network in the respective region, review of water quality data analysis and interpretation in order to identify problem areas and developing action plans for improving quality on a sustainable basis, review / assess schemes launched / to be launched to improve quality of water resources, identify hot spots for surveillance monitoring and promotion of R & D activities.