Is it safe to supply untreated water through pipelines? HC asks Rural Development Secretary

The Madras High Court on Tuesday directed the Municipal Administration and Rural Development Secretary to explain whether it was safe on the part of some panchayats to draw water from waterbodies, pump it to overhead tanks and then supply through pipelines to the residents without treating the water.

Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and R. Hemalatha raised the question during the hearing of a public interest litigation petition. They suo motu impleaded the secretary as one of the respondents to the case and directed the official to file a detailed report along with supporting documents and photographs to substantiate his stand.

The judges wanted to know how water drawn from waterbodies could be termed as potable water when they were prone to several impurities such as e-coli. The senior judge in the Division Bench lamented that the country was unable to supply as basic a necessity as safe drinking water even after seven decades of Independence.

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