District Level Water Contamination

District Level Water Contamination

Published on : May 7, 2019

Introduction
While water contamination data lies scattered across several government websites, a pan-India district level understanding of water contamination is not readily available. The endeavour here has been to create a dashboard that can aid in the understanding of this data such that a district level understanding can be provided to the user for the major contaminants that the government tracks, as well as the gaps and shortcomings in the government data that others may be able to fill in. The data has been obtained from the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. It tracks the presence of contaminants in the sources tested but not the concentration of contaminants in them. Therefore the dashboard represents the percentage of tested sources in a district that have tested positive for a certain contaminant (spread of the contaminant) but not the extent of contamination.  
Dashboard
The dashboard comprises of six tabs in total. The first provides overall information on the sources tested and the sources that were found to be contaminated by a single or multiple contaminants. The second tab provides a district level spread of each contaminant. The third and fourth tabs provide a data table to compare districts on contaminant and source related information respectively. The fifth tab allows the user to use the contaminants as filters and depicts which districts have the most sources contaminated with a certain contaminant and depicts this as horizontal bars so the user also gets an idea of which other contaminants are found in these districts. The final tab allows users to compare districts using the horizontal bars representing the total percentage of sources contaminated.  
How to view the data
The visuals are best viewed and understood in the context of the testing density. The data that has been mapped is an aggregation of data from various state governments and therefore, testing density is an important indicator of how well the respective state government is collecting its data. Kerala for example has the highest testing density among all states however Kerala also emerges as the state with one of the highest number of sources found to be contaminated. Viewers can apply their discretion and understanding to interpret this as it may be an indication of a more rigorous testing process relative to other states or may be a genuine case of greater contamination relative to other states. Where the chemical is explicitly mentioned, it means that that particular source tested has only that chemical contaminant. If the source is contaminated by more than a single contaminant, it is shown as having “Multiple Contaminants”. This is important as those districts that are known to have Arsenic contamination - Nalbari in Assam for example - may not show a large number of sources contaminated with Arsenic but may show a large number of sources contaminated with “Multiple Contaminants” which may be a combination of Arsenic and Iron. A look at the district comparison tab will clarify this. What should also be kept in mind is that those chemical contaminants that have not been explicitly mentioned have been bucketed in the “Other contaminants” category.

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