Water Quality
Norway is generally a very healthy place, making it one of the top countries to live in. Water quality in Norway is exceptional, as tap water is always safe to drink.

Water quality in Norway ranks second in having the best tap water in the world. The country has special programs that protect its groundwater and other water systems that safeguard the quality of water for its citizens.

Norway’s tap water is exceptional and can be consumed from anywhere, however, this does not guarantee complete safety. More than 1.3 million Norwegians live in regions where their drinking water is not treated against parasites. Experts advise those living in the untreated areas to pay special attention to the water’s tint. The color of the water is an indication of overall quality, and if water quality is poor, it is colored or foul-smelling or recently changed, and should not be used without taking precautions.

The current water quality in Norway can be attributed to its strong hydropower expertise. The country’s main sources of water contamination are agriculture, municipal sewage and fish farming, which are integrated with water in terms of irrigation, drinking water supply and livestock.

More than 80 percent of the population in Norway is connected to the drinking water systems, which serve more than five thousand persons each. Ninety percent of the Norwegian populous drinks surface water while ten percent drink groundwater.

The water quality in Norway is exceptional and the Norwegian government continues to actively work to maintain the standard of drinking water.

Norway provides one of the best water supply systems in the world. While the challenges for Norway in maintaining its water supply include increased overflow discharges, leakage from sewers, reduced treatment capacity and minor outbreaks that could be linked to the country’s water supply, the water quality in Norway remains far superior compared to many countries in the world.

Rochelle R. Dean

Photo: Flickr

Poverty in SvalbardSvalbard, the Norwegian archipelago midway between Norway and the North Pole, is the northernmost settlement in the world with a civilian population. The archipelago has a population of 2,667, and while it is a territory of the Kingdom of Norway, its policies on poverty and social welfare contrast greatly with its mainland counterpart.

  1. Residents of the archipelago are required to have a job to reside there, essentially making poverty in Svalbard illegal. In addition, residents must have a fixed place of residence, making homelessness also illegal and ensuring that residents will not freeze to death. Residents without jobs are promptly deported to the Norwegian mainland, ensuring that the population remains able-bodied and sufficiently employed.
  2. Unlike its mainland counterpart of Norway, Svalbard has no social welfare system. The government does fund a school and a hospital, but provides no safety net of welfare for its residents, keeping with its policies regarding joblessness. This keeps taxes very low on the archipelago.
  3. While Svalbard has experienced a recent increase in crime, its overall crime rate has remained low. The archipelago stands as a microcosm of society, and while its methods are not necessarily universal, according to governor Odd Olsen Ingero, it does show a clear correlation between criminal activity and joblessness.

  1. The archipelago is home to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a vault designed as a fail-safe for over 1,700 genebanks worldwide. The vault currently stores over 880,000 samples of seeds in the permafrost at -18 degrees Celsius, guaranteeing that the samples will remain viable for hundreds of years.
    Contributions from nations around the world work as insurance for genetic crop variations, providing a backup in case of natural or man-made catastrophes. The vault stands as a powerful defense against hunger worldwide and has most recently been used to aid a vulnerable gene bank in Aleppo during the Syrian civil war of 2015.
  2. Prices of fresh food on Svalbard sometimes border on extortionate. Its employed population and lack of social welfare help to keep taxes on the archipelago low, but high costs of transportation and extreme weather conditions make fresh foods such as vegetables and dairy extremely expensive. In 2014, Svalbardposten reported that a one-liter carton of milk could cost the equivalent of 7 U.S. dollars,

Poverty in Svalbard is practically nonexistent, but its economic policies and small population shed light on broader social issues. And while the archipelago’s economy is small and seemingly insignificant, it provides a fascinating microcosm of larger societies and a powerful platform for research. In addition, the archipelago’s Global Seed Vault has been and will continue to be a powerful weapon against poverty and hunger worldwide.

Chasen Turk

Photo: Flickr