Whether in one-litre bottles or 20-litre bubble-topped cans, packaged drinking water has become a common sight and a much in demand product. Without getting into the debate and irony of water as a commercial product, we at Consumer Voice decided that it was high time consumers knew about the safety and acceptability parameters relevant to this ‘precious commodity’ (an oxymoron, if you will).
We present here our findings on five brands of the 20-litre packaged water. The questions and parameters were whether the water we procure at a price is drinkable enough. It certainly is not as simple as checking if the water looks clean and clear. Harmful, microscopic organisms are not visible to the naked eye. If they were, we would not be consuming the brands that we did, despite their not fulfilling basic safety conditions (as our tests show). The following report will turn out to be an eye-opener in more ways than one, because it will throw up names that are not recommended for consumption mind you, some of these have been household names for a while now. Read on to find out if your packaged water brand is one of them.
Like the one-litre variants, 20-litre packaged drinking water is also covered under mandatory ISI marking scheme. For the tests, carried out at an NABL-accredited laboratory, we referred to IS: 14543: 2004 with the latest amendments. Test parameters were mainly based on Indian Standard in order to judge the overall quality of the drinking water being sold, as also on the requirements of FSS Regulations, 2011, which cover the product requirements.
- DJB Jal