When was the last time you drank water straight from the tap at your house to slake thirst on a hot summer day, without hesitation. Chances are you would have at least boiled or filtered the water. The public water supply in India is so unreliable that the urban middle class, with its increased spending power, prefers shelling out an extra buck on one of the numerous water purifiers available in the market, rather than risk health. In a decade or two, more than half of India will live in urban areas. Will they have better options? Unlikely. The country does not have the capacity to treat more than 80 per cent of the waste generated in urban houses, leading to pollution of surface and ground water. The quality of groundwater is also deteriorated because of overexploitation. Bad water, of course, is bad health. Says Manoj K Ved, a doctor practising in Mumbai's Gorai area: "On an average, 25 per cent of the cases I attend to are related to water-borne diseases.'
Water-purifier manufacturers and dealers make bad water a selling point. There is a host of brands and varieties to choose from