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Low-Cost Water Quality Testing Kit  
As pollution has become more widespread, the pollution control structure has also grown and an entire monitoring industry has evolved with it. Contemporary analytical techniques have become very expensive and they require highly trained operators. The victims of pollution, i.e., the common citizens have little access to them. Environmental pollution monitoring and management is thus largely the preserve of the government, industry, research institutions or expensive consultants. A thrust area of PSI's Environmental Quality Monitoring (EQM) Group is to develop low-cost environmental testing methods so that common citizens can regularly monitor environmental quality and carry out data based campaigns for improving environmental quality.

Monitoring the quality of domestic water supplies is essential in order to ensure the supply of potable water and public health. The EQM Group at PSI has developed a domestic water quality monitoring kit (tests 4 parameters) for use by householders and a comprehensive kit (12  parameters) for use by organizations. These kits are user- friendly, low-cost and reliable. If the methods described in the user manuals accompanying the kits are carefully followed, a precision of over 95 per cent can be achieved. The domestic water kit costs Rs.1000 and can be used for upto 35 test runs. The chemicals can be replaced thereafter for less than Rs.600. The comprehensive kit can be specially tailored to include tests desired by the purchasers. The standard comprehensive kit is priced at Rs. 4000.

Many state governments are turning over the function of domestic water supply management to Gram Panchayats. But the latter are ill-equipped to monitor water quality. In 2004-05, the State Council for Science Technology & Environment (SCSTE) in Himachal Pradesh sought PSI's help to train representatives of 27 Gram Panchayats in Shimla district to monitor their water quality using PSI's kit. The EQM Group is assisting over 50 partner organizations of WaterAid India in Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh to monitor water quality.
Hundreds of kits have been sold to individuals, vas, research institutions, government and donor agencies. EQMG has been checking users' experiences and making improvements so that the kits become more user-friendly.

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Developed by: People's Science Institute, Dehra Doon, Uttarakhand, India