Filtering Water to protect against Guinea worm, Sudan
Filtering water helps protect against Guinea worm.
© UNICEF/HQ95-0079/Shadid

Water Quality Data

WHO Fact Sheets on Water-Related Disease Link>>

UNEP Global Environment Monitoring System Database - GEMSTAT Link>>



Unicef Real Lives

Small water purifiers make a big difference in Ethiopia Link>>

Filtering water to protect against Guinea worm in Sudan Link>>























Water Quality

A vicious cycle of health impacts is established when human waste is not treated properly. Bacteria, viruses and parasites from human excreta enter the environment, where they might remain for some time in water or soil. By drinking contaminated water, or eating food that has been irrigated with untreated water, these micro-organisms infect people, who in turn will contaminate the environment via their faeces and/or urine. When wastewater is not handled properly it directly affects the local living environment and groundwater where the waste is produced. Discharge via a sewer or drain to a river is often chosen as an easy solution: the ´out of sight-out of mind´ approach. However, this directly affects the marine environment and the communities living up to 100 km downstream, with accumulated effects which may only be observed after many years. Economic losses also result from untreated wastewater such as: increased health care costs, lower productivity and income losses due to illness, drop in fish production, declines in tourism, etc.

Further Reading

WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water QualityWHO Guidelines for drinking-water quality, Third edition, incorporating first addendum, Provides guidelines as the basis for regulation and standard setting to ensure the safety of drinking-water. WHO, 2006. Link>>


Protecting Groundwater for Health, WHOProtecting Groundwater for Health, provides a structured approach to analysing hazards to groundwater quality, assessing the risk they may cause for a specific supply, setting priorities in addressing these, and developing management strategies for their control. It is a tool for access to environmental information needed for such a process and it gives a point of entry for understanding health aspects of groundwater management. WHO, 2006. Link>>

Water Quality Outlook coverWater Quality Outlook 2007, This report presents a snapshot of global water
quality issues as they relate to achieving the internationally agreed goals on water, sanitation and biodiversity. UNEP Global Environment Monitoring System (GEMS)/Water Programme, 2007. [pdf - 1.4 MB]]

Water Quality MonitoringWater Quality Monitoring: A practical guide to the design and implementation of freshwater quality studies and monitoring programmes This book covers the entire monitoring process and will be useful for anyone concerned with water quality monitoring with a scientific, managerial or engineering background, including field staff. WHO, 1996. Link>>


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