In the short guide below, we outline what global ‘quality’ related water problems are, and what potential solutions to them might be.
It complements our separate guide on global ‘quantity’ related water problems.
Firstly, What Is Water Quality?
Water quality relates to the conditions/quality of the water being suitable for it’s end use
Two of the major end uses for the water we use in society are drinking water, and also different non potable water uses
Common Ways We Improve Water Quality Across Society With Different Processes
– Treated Tap water
Perhaps the most common way to impact water quality.
This involves treating public supply water at water treatment plants before transporting it in public supply networks/pipes.
– Desalinated Water
The process of removing salt and other impurities from saltwater, to generate freshwater.
– Treated Wastewater
The process of disinfecting, and treating different types of wastewater, in order to be able to reuse it for a similar or another use.
Global Quality Related Water Problems
Global quality related problems are issues that change the quality of water in a detrimental way.
Two of the main ways that water quality is degraded, that might be considered water quality related problems are:
– Water is either polluted or contaminated at it’s source
i.e. water is polluted in the river, lake, groundwater aquifer, or other water storage source it’s found in
In that guide we outline what some of the major water pollutants are, what the major causes of water pollution are, and more
One example of how water pollution happens is when waste water is dumped untreated into a water source
– Tap water is contaminated is some way
A common example of this might be contaminants (like metals) leaching into the water via water supply infrastructure and pipes
We wrote about some of the countries with potentially questionable tap water in this guide, and some of the countries with the potentially unsafe tap water, and also potentially the most contaminated tap water in these guides
In the latter guide, we list what some of the main contaminants and causes for contamination of different countries’ tap water might be
Most Common Water Quality Related Problem, & New Water Quality Concerns
In this guide, we outline how eutrophication might be the most common water quality problem, and also how the use of personal care products and pharmaceuticals might be a new water quality related concern.
Having said that, different pollutants and contaminants can be the predominant cause of water quality problems in different cities and towns worldwide
In a slightly different category to water pollutants, freshwater (such as water found in groundwater sources) can become saline or turn brackish due to a number of factors
Potential Solutions To Improve Water Quality Related Problems
Some of the key solutions might involve though:
– Preventing water pollution in the first place (or at least reducing it) to water sources as a priority, over having to clean water pollution up once it’s already happened
Having said that though, cleaning up polluted water bodies is an option after prevention and reducing pollution (although it can have it’s challenges, and be costly)
– Having local solutions and a local strategy for water pollution
As a consequence of this, each city and region needs it’s own set of solutions and it’s own strategy to address their own local water pollution problems
For example, agriculture and industry can be key causes of water pollution in developed countries, and agriculture and human waste and sewage in some developing countries
– Focussing on the major polluters in each area
i.e. the biggest polluting sectors, companies and groups
– Consider how tap water supply can be protected in public pipe networks
Mainly in places where leaching from water supply pipes into tap water might be an issue
– Consider how the main causes of eutrophication can be better managed
Other Water Quality Related Guides
We’ve put together several guides with further information on some water quality related topics: