Kerala Water Authority has a well-established system for monitoring water quality through a network of district laboratories. The State lab, State Referral Institute for Water Quality (SRI), Nettoor, Ernakulam, which was set up in 2009 is the apex body for water quality monitoring and surveillance activities. The State lab has got NABL (National Accreditation Board for Laboratories) accreditation in 2017. Besides this 14 District labs and 67 Sub district labs have obtained NABL accreditation now.
The main function of Quality Control Wing is surveillance and monitoring the quality of water supplied through various water supply schemes. The quality of water in river sources, wells, private samples etc are also been tested in the labs under the quality control wing. In addition quality certification of chemicals used in water treatment is also done in the labs.
The Quality Control Wing is under the control of the Director (Superintending Engineer), SRI. There are three Quality Control Divisions under SRI, headed by Executive Engineers. Each Division has two Quality Control Sub Divisions, under the control of Assistant Executive Engineers. The Assistant Engineers are in charge of District labs.
The surveillance and monitoring of quality of drinking water supplied through various water supply schemes of Kerala Water Authority is monitored by conducting analysis of water samples taken at stipulated frequency through an effective three-tier inspection system up to the level of Executive Engineers. The samples collected in these inspections are analysed for basic physical, chemical and bacteriological parameters as per IS 10500-2012 in the District laboratories and the results of analysis are communicated to the officers of Maintenance wing in charge of the schemes for taking corrective measures, if any. On an average samples from about 20,000 locations of various water supply schemes are taken and analysed every year. Parameters tested comprise Colour, Odour, Turbidity, pH, Electrical conductivity, Acidity, Alkalinity, Sulphate, Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), Total Hardness, Calcium, Magnesium, Chloride, Fluoride, Iron, Nitrate, Residual Chlorine, Total Coliforms and E.Coli.
Water samples received from public are also tested in District Labs after collecting testing fees. In 2021-22 about 40000 private samples were tested. In addition, Kerala Water Authority monitors the water quality of specified intake points of water supply schemes in 44 rivers in the state through monthly sampling. Quality certification of chemicals used for water treatment such as Alum, Lime and Bleaching powder is also done at District labs. The quality monitoring activities are carried out in Sabarimala season to ensure the quality of drinking water supplied in Sabarimala, Pamba and Nilackal.
The State Lab of SRI is NABL accredited for testing of 29 parameters of water quality. There is facility for heavy metal analysis using Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (AAS) and pesticides analysis using Gas Chromatograph in addition to the physical- chemical and bacteriological parameters being tested in district labs. Further expansion in the field of testing is envisaged in the coming years.
About 100000 water sources are tested annually and the results are uploaded in the Government of India site in https://ejalshakti.gov.in.