Indian Forum for Water Adroit

Floods in Chennai made groundwater unsafe for human use, shows study


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“This would help authorities to take necessary steps to treat water and prevent water-borne diseases like cholera and typhoid, and vector-borne ailments such as dengue, malaria, and encephalitis, from occurring in the future”, adds Prof. Elango, describing the importance of the study. The collected samples were tested for salt and heavy metal concentration, pH, and microbial contents and their susceptibility to available antibiotics. “This information would help assess the effect of floods on the ground water quality of this region”, says Prof. Elango.

The scientists found that the groundwater quality post flood had deteriorated considerably. The heavy metal concentration and the microbial load were high compared to the pre-flood levels. They also found that some bacteria that they tested had developed antibiotic resistance. “The bacteria were sensitive to most antibiotics, but some were resistant to nalidixic acid, which was alarming as antibiotic resistance can rapidly spread in the environment”, remarks Prof. Elango about the findings.

The researchers plan to conduct these tests again to check on the quality of groundwater. “Since chlorination was done by the city authorities post floods, we are now planning to retest the groundwater in November this year to see what the present status is”, signs off Prof. Elango.
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Divecha Center for Climate Change