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NATIONAL WATER QUALITY LABORATORY

Water is the key component in determining the quality of our lives. Today, people are concerned about the quality of the water they drink. The stress on water resources of the country is from multiple sources. Rapid urbanization, increased industrial activity and dependence of the agricultural sector on chemicals and fertilizers have led to water pollution. Deterioration in water quality and contamination of lakes, rivers and groundwater aquifers has, therefore, resulted in increased water borne diseases and negative impacts on human health. It is estimated that around 40% of all reported diseases in Pakistan are attributed to poor water quality. As one indicator of the magnitude of the problem, it is estimated that 250,000 children in Pakistan die every year due to diarrhoeal diseases alone. Pakistan’s ranking in maintaining water quality standards is 80th out of 122 nations. Generally, water pressure is low in Pakistan supply systems. Together with leaky pipes, this has led to infiltration of contaminated water. As a result of sewage and industrial waste, which leaked into drinking water through damaged pipes, major outbreaks of waterborne disease epidemics swept many cities in 2006. Water, extracted by hand pumps–the major water pumping tool in rural areas–is often brackish and generally inadequate to meet all domestic requirements. In such scenario, water quality monitoring is the need of the current time, as the citizens may unknowingly drink contaminated water containing viruses and bacteria linked to potentially fatal diseases, such as Cholera, Typhoid fever, Dysentery and Infectious hepatitis etc. It is further estimated that water related diseases cause annual national income losses of USD 380-883 million – or approximately 0.6-1.44 percent of GDP. In this perspective, it is the demand of time to take milestone initiatives to ensure that drinking water is as free of such impurities as is possible and this can be accomplished by timely monitoring and treatment of drinking water quality. Water quality monitoring and surveillance is a basic and primary tool to assess the pollutants present in water. 

The water quality surveillance includes; 
1. Establishment of national Water Quality Monitoring Network 
2. Regular Water Quality Monitoring of all the sources
3.Identification of contaminants as cause of unsafe water and rectification or decontamination measures

To address this issue of national importance, Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources has implemented the several National Water Quality Monitoring and Surveillance activities. In this regard details of water quality research activities undertaken up till now are as following:

National Water Quality Monitoring Programme:
The National Water Quality Monitoring Programme (NWQMP) was initiated by Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) in 2001. It was the premier project of the year which generated the first detailed water quality profile of 23 major cities of the country. Before 2001 in Pakistan, drinking water profile with duly identified water quality problems was not available. To fill up this knowledge gap, PCRWR initiated National Water Quality Monitoring Programme (NWQMP) and generated the first drinking water quality profile, diagnosed problems, and suggested preventive and corrective measures. Detailed data analysis has identified 4 major water quality tribulations in drinking water sources of Pakistan i.e. bacteriological (68%), arsenic (24%), nitrate (13%) and fluoride (5%). The five years trend analysis has revealed that out of a total 357, only 45 water sources (13%) were found “Safe” and the remaining 312 (87%) were “Unsafe” for drinking purpose. The bacterial contamination level (2002-2006) was in the range of 40-74% for Islamabad, 38-79% for Faisalabad, 52-76% for Bahawalpur, 29-71% for Gujranwala, 56-100% for Gujrat, 40-50% for Kasur, 37-63% for Lahore, 31-87% for Multan, 53-87% for Rawalpindi, 27-55% for Sheikhupura, 40-70% for Sialkot, 75-92% for Sargodha, 62-100% for Khuzdar, 73-100% for Loralai, 48-68% for Quetta, 100% for Ziarat, 40-70% for Mangora, 75-83% for Mardan, 31-77% for Peshawar, 55-73% for Abbottabad, 73-100% for Hyderabad, 61-100% for Karachi and 67-83% for Sukkur during 2002-06. The outcome of all the five phases (2002-06) of NWQMP has led to the realization that the Federal, Provincial and Local Governments need to take immediate initiatives for the provision of safe drinking water to the public in order to prevent the onslaught of water born diseases. Advocacy efforts for the awareness and education of the general public, regarding the water quality testing and treatment are required.
Annual Water Quality Monitoring Reports (Download):
Ø PHASE-I, 2001-02 [PDF]   
Ø PHASE-II, 2002-03 [PDF]
Ø PHASE-III, 2003-04 [PDF]
Ø PHASE-IV, 2004-05 [PDF]
Ø PHASE-V, 2005-06 [PDF]
Water Quality Monitoring in Rural Areas of Pakistan and Installation of Water Conditioning and Filtration Units
Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) has successfully implemented the National Water Quality Monitoring Programme (NWQMP: 2002-06). The findings of this national programme demanded to extend and undertake similar water quality monitoring in rural areas covering all tehsils including rural union councils located within the jurisdiction of 24 districts. Therefore, a five year project “Water Quality Monitoring in Rural Areas of Pakistan and Installation of Water Conditioning and Filtration Units” has been initiated by Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) for 24 districts in 2004. From these 24 districts, 20% of the total villages i.e. 2,807 villages of 1567 union councils from 80 tehsils were selected for water quality monitoring. Therefore, more than 14000 water samples were collected in total at the rate of approximately five samples per village and analyzed following Standard Methods of American Public Health Association (APHA). An overall data analysis of 14000 monitored sources in all over the country has concluded that 82% water samples were beyond the PSQCA Drinking Water Standards and evaluated as unsafe and only 18% of total water samples were found within the PSQCA Drinking Water Standards and considered safe for drinking purpose. The outcome of this wide water quality monitoring in rural areas of 24 districts of the country has led to the realization that the Federal, Provincial and Local Governments need to take immediate initiatives for the provision of safe drinking water to the natives of rural communities in order to prevent the onslaught of water born diseases. Advocacy efforts for the awareness and education of the villagers regarding the water quality testing and treatment are required.

Arsenic Monitoring and Mitigation in Pakistan
The natural presence of arsenic and other toxins in groundwater, the most common source of drinking water, is considered a worldwide public-health crisis and an unprecedented natural disaster. Thirty-five countries around the world have reported arsenic contamination problem in ground water. The ground water pollution caused by arsenic in South Asian countries especially India and Bangladesh has led to major environmental crisis of arsenic poisoning. PCRWR is pioneer organization to initiate arsenic monitoring test in the Country. In Pakistan, the intensity of arsenic contamination in ground water is comparatively lower. However, the concentration of arsenic in groundwater of several districts of Punjab and Sindh provinces has been observed through different water quality studies conducted by PCRWR enlisted below:

1. Arsenic Monitoring in Southern Punjab (3 Districts, 2003)
2. Arsenic Monitoring in Punjab Province (8 Districts, 2004)
3. Arsenic Monitoring in Central Sindh (2 Districts, 2003)
4. Arsenic Monitoring in Sindh Province (3 Districts, 2004)
5. Innovative low cost Arsenic Mitigation Technologies for developing countries
6. Arsenic Monitoring and Mitigation in Pakistan” (58 districts, 2010)
7. Arsenic Removal Safe Water Filter (2009)

Bottled/Mineral Water Quality Monitoring
In Pakistan, water quality of both surface and ground water has been identified as one of major issue due to four main water quality tribulations such as bacteriological contamination, arsenic, nitrate and fluoride. In the milieu of this situation, out of total, 40% of the diseases prevalent in the country are waterborne and about 20-40% hospitalizations are due to these diseases. The severe contamination in the drinking water supplies has led to the rapid growth of bottled/mineral water industry in Pakistan. However, many of bottled/mineral water brands are found contaminated, bacteriologically or chemically or both. Keeping the ground realities in mind, PCRWR was asked to conduct monitoring of the quality of various bottled/mineral water brands available in the market on quarterly basis. The Ministry of Science of Technology has directed the PCRWR to undertake regular monitoring of bottled/mineral water brands and publicize the results on quarterly basis.
A standardized and uniform methodology for sample collection, laboratory analysis and data interpretation has been followed for all of the monitoring trials. All the samples of commercially available bottled water brands are analyzed in ISO-17025 accredited National Water Quality Laboratory (NWQL) at PCRWR, Islamabad for physico-chemical and microbiological parameters. Analytical findings are compared with bottled water permissible limits of Pakistan Standard Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) and International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) as well as with Drinking Water Guidelines of World Health Organization (WHO). Finally the results in the form of Bottled Water Quality Monitoring Reports are uploaded on PCRWR official website (www.pcrwr.gov.pk) and also disseminated through print media. In this context, PCRWR has conducted annual bottled water monitoring since 1999 and increased the monitoring frequency to quarterly basis in the year 2006 on the instruction of Ministry of Science of Technology. The overall findings of last eleven years regarding bottled water monitoring are as follows:
 
Year Quarter
No. of Brands
Total No. of Brands Safe Brands Unsafe Brands
1999 1st Monitoring 18 15 03
2nd Monitoring 22 15 07
2001 - 21 10 11
2003-04 - 22 10 12
2005 - 58 36 22
2006 2nd Quarter 60 36 24
3rd Quarter 60 38 22
4th Quarter 57 37 20
2007 1st Quarter 32 20 12
2nd Quarter 47 27 20
3rd Quarter 30 21 09
4th Quarter 30 20 10
2008 1st Quarter 40 23 17
2nd Quarter 38 28 10
3rd Quarter 44 34 10
4th Quarter 31 24 07
2009 1st Quarter 27 19 08
2nd Quarter 38 27 11
3rd Quarter 42 26 16
4th Quarter 43 27 16
2010 1st Quarter 63 30 33

Reports Quarterly:
Ø OCTOBER-DECEMBER, 2010 [Download]
Ø JULY-SEPTEMBER, 2010 [Download]
Ø APRIL-JUNE, 2010 [Download]
Ø JANUARY-MARCH,2010 [Download]
Ø OCTOBER-DECEMBER, 2009 [Download]
Ø JULY-SEPTEMBER, 2009 [Download]
Ø APRIL-JUNE, 2009 [Download]
Ø JANUARY-MARCH,2009 [Download]
Ø OCTOBER-DECEMBER, 2008 [Download]
Ø JULY-SEPTEMBER, 2008 [Download]
Ø APRIL-JUNE, 2008 [Download]
Ø JANUARY-MARCH,2008 [Download]
Ø OCTOBER-DECEMBER, 2007 [Download]
Ø JULY-SEPTEMBER, 2007 [Download]
Ø APRIL-JUNE, 2007 [Download]
Ø JANUARY-MARCH,2007 [Download]
Ø OCTOBER-DECEMBER, 2006 [Download]
Ø JULY-SEPTEMBER, 2006 [Download]
Ø APRIL-JUNE, 2006 [Download]
Ø JANUARY-MARCH,2006 [Download]
Reports Yearly (Download):
Ø JANUARY-DECEMBER, 2005
Ø JANUARY-DECEMBER, 2004
Ø JANUARY-DECEMBER, 2003
Ø JANUARY-DECEMBER, 2002
Ø JANUARY-DECEMBER, 2001
Ø JANUARY-DECEMBER, 2000
Ø JANUARY-DECEMBER, 1999
Earthquake Relief Initiatives
Polluted drinking water in the earthquake affected areas (Muzaffarabad, Mansehra, Batgram, Bagh, Shangla, Rawalakot and Abbottabad) of Pakistan was the cause of many water borne diseases like cholera, typhoid, dysentery, hepatitis etc. Shortage of the safe drinking water due to the damaged water supply systems and cross contamination by damaged sewage system is increasing the sufferings of the people in the affected regions. Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), a premier R&D organization of Ministry of Science & Technology has undertaken a number of short term and long term steps to provide safe drinking water to the earthquake affectees:
Initially ten teams with make shift mobile testing laboratories and 60 professionals were sent to: (a) Abbottabad & Mansehra (2 team each) and (b) Muzaffarabad & Rawlakot including Bagh (3 teams each); to identify the existing water quality issues; to rectify the prevailing problems and to repair the damaged water supply and treatment systems. Later on two more field teams were sent to Shangla and Batgram.
The initial survey reports by these teams highlighted the issues of drinking water availability in Muzaffarabad and Rawlakot areas as well as requirements of rehabilitation of water sources. To identify the locations with adverse water quality problems more than 308 locations within the affected areas had been monitored not only to identify the water quality status but also to pinpoint the locations for installation of chlorinators or water filtration and conditioning plants. Out of total 99 affected locations of NWFP, 73% were found safe and the rest 27% as unsafe. Within NWFP, the most critical situation was found in Batgram with 92% of unsafe water quality locations. Out of 209 locations affected in AJK, only 10% of the water sources were found safe and the rest 90% were unsafe with worst situation found in Bagh followed by Muzaffarabad.
Immediately after earthquake, PCRWR in collaboration with UNICEF and the local PHED, took over the water filtration and treatment plant installed at Makrai, Muzaffarabad and installed chlorinators at the plant. PCRWR team has continually monitord the treatment at the source and at the supply points to ensure safe drinking water. This plant is providing safe drinking water to more than 100,000 peoples in Muzaffarabad. The monitoring of water supply by WHO, Pak Army, OXFAM and Austria Army teams declared treated water highly satisfactory.
PCRWR activities for the provision of safe drinking water were extended to Ghari Dopatta, Hattian Bala, Chinari, Chikar etc.
Ten chlorinators (2 each in Muzaffarabad, Bagh, Batgram, Mansehra and Shangla) had been installed at the problematic locations. The cost of these chlorinators is about Rs.50,000 per unit and it can serve for a community of 50,000 to 75,000 persons. These are simple to use and has low maintenance cost.
A low cost filtration and treatment plant was installed at the makeshift camp located at H-11 Sector, Islamabad. The capacity of each plant was 48,000 liters per day to serve more than 10,000 persons per day.
Water tanks (capacity 700 gallons) with Calcium hypo chlorite have been provided in make shift camps for the affectees. The people in camps were being made aware about use of chlorine.
To address the public health concerns, PCRWR had distributed 5,500 kg “Musaffa Powder” donated by PCSIR. The powder had been developed by the PCSIR and endorsed by the PCRWR before its marketing.
Large scale water disinfection facilities were provided by PCRWR field teams to the affectees to secure them against the waterborne diseases. The local administrations of these affected areas were assisted to restore and optimize the existing damaged water supply and treatment systems.
PCRWR had also established a Technical Cell to further strengthening its out-going liaison with International Agencies including UNICEF, UNDP and NGOs operating in the area. PCRWR and the UNICEF are in close coordination in Muzaffarabad area for provision of safe drinking water to the public.
For the provision of safe drinking water in the affected regions, PCRWR had distributed 5000 jerry cans each of 10 liters filled with safe water from recently installed treatment plant at its headquarter building.
To speed up the earthquake relief activities, 21 volunteer students/graduates have been hired and posted in earthquake stricken areas after necessary training at PCRWR Lab. in Islamabad. UNICEF has sponsored the volunteers program. The volunteers have started working at Muzaffarabad, Bagh, Mansehra, Basham and Batagram under the administrative control of PCRWR.

NATIONAL WATER QUALITY ADVISORY SERVICES
PCRWR is proud to offer water analysis advisory services through its IS-17025 accredited Water Quality laboratory at PCRWR head office Islamabad and regional/sub-regional laboratories. Our well equipped laboratories provide testing services for detection & source localization of pollution as well as quantification of pollutants by experienced professionals using international standard methods for following purposes:

Drinking (portable, bottled and mineral water)
Irrigation
Industrial effluents evaluation
Aquatic life and eco-system (fisheries etc.)
Water quality monitoring studies
Filtration system monitoring
Construction
Recreational pollutants evaluation
Environmental impact assessment

PCRWR Laboratories provide technical data to ensure whether compliance with drinking water regulations is being made or not. We collect water and waste water samples and analyzes to determine compliance with permissible limits. PCRWR Water Quality Laboratories use its scientific and engineering staff, with expertise in chemistry, biology, engineering and environmental science, to ensure that high quality and sound science are the foundation of the water testing work conducted in the country. PCRWR scientists and engineers use state-of-the-art equipment and techniques and apply rigorous quality assurance standards.

OVERALL ANALYTICAL CAPABILITIES OF NETWORK OF PCRWR WATER QUALITY LABORATORIES

Physical & Aesthetic Parameters
Colour, Conductivity, Odour, pH, Suspended Solids, Taste, TDS and Turbidity

Major Chemical Constituents (Inorganic)
Alkalinity, Ammonia, Bicarbonate, Calcium, Carbonate, Chloride, Hardness, Magnesium, Nitrate (N), Nitrite (as NO2), Phosphate, Potassium, Sodium, Sulphate, Silica

Trace and Ultra-Trace Elements (Inorganic)
Aluminum, Antimony, Arsenic, Barium, Beryllium, Bicarbonate, Bismuth, Boron, Bromine, Cadmium, Carbon, Cerium, Chloride, Chromium, Cobalt, Copper, Dysprosium, Erbium, Europium, Fluoride, Free Chlorine, Gadolinium, Gallium, Germanium, Gold, Hafnium, Hardness, Holmium, Indium, Iodide, Iridium, Iron, Lanthanum, Lead, Lithium, Lutetium, Manganese, Mercury, Molybdenum, Neodymium, Nickel, Niobium, Osmium, Palladium, Phosphorus, Platinum, Praseodymium, Rhodium, Rubidium, Ruthenium, Samarium, Scandium, Selenium, Silicon, Silver, Strontium, Sulphur, Tantalum, Tellurium, Terbium, Thallium, Thorium, Thulium, Tin, Titanium, Total Chlorine, Tungsten, Uranium, Vanadium, Ytterbium, Yttrium, Zinc, Zirconium.

Pesticides/Persistent Organic Polluants (Organic)
Aldrin, Chlordane, DDT, Dieldrin, Endrin, Heptachlor, Hexachlorobenzene, Mirex, Polychlorinated Biphenyls, Polychlorinated Dibenzo-P-Dioxins, Polychlorinated Dibenzofurans, Toxaphene, Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta Hexachlorohexane, trans-cis-Dichlorodiphenyl-triethan, Dichlorodiphenyltriethene, Dichlorodiphenyltriethylene, Endrin, Mirex and some selected polychlorinated biphenyls.

Wastewater Parameters
Chemical Oxygen Demand, Biochemical Oxygen Demand, Dissolved Oxygen, Total Organic Carbon, Oil and Grease

Microbiological Parameters
Total Coliform, Fecal Coliforms, E-Coli, Total Plate Count, Pseudomonas, Salmonella, Yeasts and Moulds

Other Parameters
Ammonia, Free Carbon dioxide

TECHNICAL FACILITIES AT NATIONAL WATER QULAITY LABORATORY
CUSTOMER SERVICE SECTION (DOWNLOAD):
Ø SAMPLE RECEIVING FORM
Ø SAMPLING INSTRUCTIONS
Ø ANALYTICAL CHARGES FOR GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS [Download]
Ø ANALYTICAL CHARGES FOR COMMERCIAL ORGANIZATIONS [Download]
BROCHURES OF WATER QUALITY TESTING KITS (DOWNLOAD):
Ø COST-EFFECTIVE BACTERIA TESTING KIT
Ø TESTING KIT FOR CALCIUM, MAGNESIUM & HARDNESS
Ø TESTING KIT FOR BICARBONATE, CARBONATE & CHLORIDES
Ø WATER TESTING KIT FOR PH AND CHLORINE
Ø FIELD TESTING KIT FOR ARSENIC