Confessions of a Hydrophilic
Water is a precious resource. It is ubiquitous for the sustenance of human physiology. The importance of water has been depicted in many fictional works wherein a post-apocalyptic, dystopian human race uses drinking water as a currency. While the populace of NIT-R is far from being in the aforementioned conditions, the recent instances of epidemical gastrointestinal infection amongst boarders has raised a question as to how safe are the drinking water facilities. MM takes a purview of how the potable water facilities are and covers the various aspects involved in the same.
Every potable water system, replete with water purifiers and coolers, is procured from companies on a tender basis. While the water purifiers used pertain to Aquaguard, the water coolers are procured from three major runners, namely Usha, Voltas and Bluestar. The general procedure to procure these units is to send a written application requesting the purchase for them to the company officials, preferably the division head in the nearest office. If they are interested in taking up the offer, an approval letter is sent to the Chief Warden’s office, and a price is quoted. More than often, the quoted price is lesser than what commercial retail outlets have to offer, following which the units are installed in respective installed. The necessary connections are made and the system becomes operable shortly after.
Maintenance and Cleanliness:
The guidelines for maintenance of drinking water systems are ascertained to ensure that they remain hygienic enough for consumption of boarders. The guidelines state that the drinking facility should be cleaned once in a month, replete with the candle. Proper servicing of the systems are done biennially, with complete maintenance being done at these junctures of time.
While it is true that the water facilities have improved vastly as compared to a few years back, the bitter truth remains that students are not satisfied with the water facilities provided to them. MM conducted a survey on an unbiased focus group with boarders hailing from different halls to gauge their opinion on their level of satisfaction of potable water facilities.
Question 1: Are you happy with the cleanliness and maintenance of water coolers in your block?
A staggering 75.5% of the populous admit to be unsatisfied with the cleanliness and maintenance of the water coolers in their blocks, citing myriad reasons to be their cause. While some state reasons such as dirty coolers in general or stench emanating from the same. There are complains of muddy water and loose taps in some of the halls.
Question 2: Does the Aquaguard of your block contain a cooler?
Most of the boarders replied positively to this question, affirming the fact that their blocks contain a water cooler. However, there emerged a fraction of boarder who lamented the lack of coolers in the blocks of their halls (18.4%), particularly in V.S. hall.
Question 3: Are coolers in your block present in good condition?
While the majority swayed towards a negative direction in this question (61.7%). But positive response received couldn’t be ignored as well. Majority of the complaints included stinky and/or dirty coolers. There were complaints of loose taps in some coolers in V.S. hall and the general quality of water was deemed poor by the boarders of the same.
Question 4: How often do the sinks of your cooler get clogged or dirty?
This question didn’t get a very overwhelming majority towards any one answer. Regardless, 52.1% of the surveyed boarders agreed that it was a rare phenomenon while 47.9% had the opinion that it was a frequent occurrence in the coolers nearest to them.
There are plenty more issues that have been brought to light by the boarders. The connections are off sometimes, water purifiers don’t function as they should and the water turbidity is high in some cases. A major problem related to many of these coolers, particularly in GDB hall, DBA hall and M.V. hall is the fact that they are precariously close to bathroom and urinal area. The only separation between the potable water system and urinals is a thin wall, as in case of GDB hall. In an unfortunate scenario of leakage in some lavatory unit, the immediate contamination would be in the water cooling and purification units near them. This is a serious problem and action needs to be taken upon it.
A Possible Solution?
The Chief Warden, Prof. R.K. Patel requests boarders to be vigilant of their surroundings at all junctures. While, the guidelines state that cooling areas need to be cleaned once in a month, strict instructions have been provided to the caretaker, wardens and secretaries that any boarder, who finds the water facilities lacking in hygiene or some other aspect, has the right to call any one of the aforementioned person concerned, following which, instructions would be provided to concerned personnel and maintenance work would commence shortly after. The frequency of cleaning is flexible and boarders have complete freedom to exercise their rights in this regard. If major problems are found in this regard, technicians from the company would be dispatched and intensive maintenance commences shortly after, as was the case in case of the V.S. hall epidemic. Any cooler beyond repair can be replaced by new ones if they are brought to the notice of warden, general secretary or maintenance secretary.