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

water pollution facts
Water is one of the most important natural resources that is essential to sustain every form of life, but it is becoming increasingly scarce in many parts of the world. According to the World Economic Forum, rising water pollution is the foremost global risk in terms of its potentially devastating impact on society. Below are ten interesting water pollution facts.

Water Pollution Facts

  1. One of the prominent causes of water pollution is extensive eutrophication caused by agricultural, sewage, animal, human and industrial runoff, resulting in excessive concentrations of nutrients, such as phosphorus and nitrogen. This results in enhanced plant and depleted animal life due to lack of oxygen, creating a dead zone. Lakes and reservoirs, two freshwater sources, are particularly prone to the negative impact of eutrophication due to their proximity to pollutant-generating sources and the water’s relative stillness.
  2. Personal care products and pharmaceuticals, including birth control pills, antibiotics and painkillers, are washed into water reservoirs and lakes, contributing to the rising water pollution. They have a damaging effect on the aquatic ecosystems and cause hormonal imbalances in humans and animals.
  3. About two million tons of sewage is dumped into the world’s water bodies daily. Annually, 14 billion pounds of garbage containing mostly plastic is thrown into the world’s oceans, causing large-scale destruction of marine life.
  4. Millions are consuming contaminated or chemically adulterated drinking water due to a lack of adequate treatment of urban wastewater. More than 80 percent of human activity generated and about 70 percent of industrial untreated wastewater is dumped into rivers, lakes and oceans. In the U.S. alone, about 1.2 trillion gallons of untreated sewage and industrial waste is discharged into the water bodies.
  5. At least 70 percent of lakes and rivers in China are polluted, and more than half are too polluted for human use. The Yangtze River, China’s largest and the world’s third-largest river, is inundated with approximately 25 billion tons of sewage and industrial refuge.
  6. Many do not have access to clean drinking water, including the 663 million people reliant on precarious sources — with 159 million relying on surface water and 1.8 million dependent on drinking water potentially contaminated with human waste.
  7. Sanitation facilities are a luxury not enjoyed by 2.4 billion people across the globe. Approximately 946 million people are forced to defecate in street gutters and near water bodies, exacerbating the rising water pollution. Wastewater is sometimes used for crop irrigation and at least 10 percent of the population globally consumes food grown using wastewater.
  8. The scarcity of water instinctively causes people to conserve water and avoid its use for hygiene, leading to preventable diseases such as diarrhea, dysentery, cholera, typhoid and polio. Approximately 842,000 people, including 361,000 children under five, die yearly from diarrhea. Contaminated drinking water and inadequate sanitation cause more deaths annually than violence from the ongoing wars. Debilitating diseases including schistosomiasis, intestinal worms and trachoma prevalent in tropical regions are also a result of inadequate sanitation services and hygiene habits.
  9. Currently, about 40 percent of the world’s population is facing water scarcity and 1.7 billion are living in river basins where water usage exceeds renewal. Without immediate action, by 2025 half of the world’s population will be experiencing a water shortage, and by 2050 one in four people will be living in a country with an insufficient fresh water supply.
  10. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) set forth by the U.N. to “end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all” by 2030. Reducing water pollution by restricting the disposal of garbage and other hazardous chemicals into water bodies and adapting more effective means of treating wastewater, is part of the SDG’s six targets to ensure equitable access to safe drinking water.

There is ample water for everyone, but these 10 facts about water pollution illustrate how it is becoming scarce due to insufficient infrastructure. Safe, clean water is a human right, yet rising water pollution is a serious health threat for the world’s poorest.

Preeti Yadav

Photo: Flickr

Water Quality in Chile
Water quality in Chile includes many facets and issues that must be resolved. One recent event that has drawn attention to this issue is a drought during the weekend of Feb. 25, affecting five million people. This water quality emergency is due to runoff and debris in the Maipo River, the main water supply for Chile’s capital Santiago. Runoff is created by drought and wildfires, making it difficult for the land to retain water. When land is unable to retain water, mudslides are created and debris flows.

Chile measures the levels of precipitation, surface water, groundwater and water needed to remove the pollution in order to access its water footprint. These standards were created by the Water Footprint Network and the Chile Foundation.

Not only does poor water quality affect citizens in Chile, it affects entire industries. Copper is a major export from Chile, and mines must use expensive desalination technology in order to have suitable water. In addition, poor water quality affects agriculture. There are projects in place to improve both the removal of contaminants and water quality.

Former military ruler General Pinochet made water a private commodity in Chile in 1980, a move meant to encourage investment in infrastructure used to distribute water. In reality, privatizing water has created high tariffs and removed the incentive to distribute water in low-income areas. Citizens have to pay for water and to have their water quality improved. The Chilean government has a plan to invest $5 billion into irrigation projects by 2022 and encourage private sector investment into these projects.

Water quality in Chile is a multifaceted problem to solve, but there is impressive research and progress being made to resolve it.

Jennifer Taggart

Photo: Flickr

Take a moment to imagine waking up in the morning, and instead of reaching for the faucet or filtered system you may use for water, you reach for a bulky jar and begin the trek to fill it with water. Imagine filling that jar until it weighs more than 40 pounds and carrying it for miles to bring home. For millions of women living in poverty, this is a daily routine. More than 600 million people worldwide, most of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa, still lack access to clean water. Stella Artois is partnering with water.org through the Buy a Lady a Drink campaign to bring clean water to those still living without it.

To raise money for clean water, Stella Artois is selling limited-edition chalices. The chalices feature artwork from countries like Brazil, Cambodia and Uganda. Only $6.25 from each sale is needed to provide clean water for five years. So far, the Buy a Lady a Drink campaign has helped provide 800,000 people in the developing world with clean water.

For women like Anita, in developing countries, the Buy a Lady a Drink campaign offers much more than clean water — it creates opportunity. Since Anita no longer has to waste precious time collecting water, she is able to contribute to the family business and grow crops for the household. In addition, her children have hope for a better future as they are able to attend school instead of waiting in line for water.

Although the Millennium Development Goal to halve the proportion of people without access to clean water has been reached, there are still millions of people living without easy access to this precious and essential resource. Through the Buy a Lady a Drink campaign, Stella Artois is bringing not only clean water to needy communities, but hope for building a better future.

Rebecca Yu

Photo: Flickr

The Dominican Republic is full of rich history, widely recognized for its tourism, beautiful beaches and elegant resorts. Most importantly, the Dominican Republic is known for baseball. Among a population exceeding 10 million, baseball has continued to flourish, responsible for the growth and development of many former and current professional baseball players, including David Ortiz, Robinson Cano and Sammy Sosa. Apart from this distinction, the Dominican Republic has experienced extreme poverty, and half of the population has no access to clean water.

In an effort to improve water quality in the Dominican Republic, the Major League Baseball Players Trust has taken the initiative to give back and make a difference in the lives of many families. As a charitable foundation allowing the opportunity for players to support important causes, it helps in alleviating global issues and encourages others to join the fight in making a difference around the world.

In partnership with the Players Trust, Esperanza International aims to free families from poverty through efforts of generating income, education and health, and restoring self-worth and dignity to those who have become hopeless. This nonprofit was founded by former MLB player Dave Valle, who witnessed first-hand the poverty-stricken regions of the country while playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic.

From September through December 2016, 76 loans were distributed to first-time borrowers through the grants provided by the Players Trust. Esperanza estimates that these loans will impact at least 380 lives in several neglected areas, including North Santo Domingo, West Santo Domingo and San Pedro de Macoris.

In addition, Esperanza operates two water purification projects with funding from the Players Trust: 7 Veces de Vida and Agua Life. Together, these two projects will provide area residents with close to 25,000 gallons of clean and affordable drinking water every month.

Many other organizations have made efforts to enhance water quality in the Dominican Republic. The Nature Conservancy is introducing water funds, which provide a way for the cities, industries and individuals to invest in sustainable fresh water sources.

In 2013, two important funds were established in the Dominican Republic. The first fund supports the watersheds, which include rivers, streams and lakes that supply fresh water. The other fund focuses on the largest river system in the country, the Yacque del Norte. According to The Nature Conservancy, both funds provide water to more than 60 percent of people living in the Dominican Republic.

Through these philanthropic efforts, the future looks promising for further improving water quality in the Dominican Republic. Alongside these endeavors, Major League Baseball continues to innovate new ways to enhance the living conditions for many families across this hopeful country.

Brandon Johnson

Photo: Flickr

Quality in Cote D'Ivoire

According to UNICEF, more than four million people still do not have access to safe drinking water in Cote D’Ivoire. This lack of adequate water quality in Cote D’Ivoire results in the deaths of children every single day from disease, and more are suffering through illness.

The water crisis is controlling everything. Children are being denied the right to education, in lieu of spending their days water-fetching. Almost 86 percent of women in Cote D’Ivoire are responsible for supplying water to their families, and those farmers that are able to work are not managing to perform at very productive levels due to the commonplace of diseases and illnesses.

Moving Forward with Solutions

In 2007, 1,170 village water pumps were either fully constructed or rehabilitated, which directly affected 700,000 people’s lives. In additon, 734 latrines (outhouses) were built in 150 villages, which is vital for sanitation improvements.

UNICEF has laid out three main focus areas to further aid for water quality in Cote D’Ivoire:

  • The supply of water in community, school and health centers and peri-urban environments.
  • The promotion of hygiene and sanitation.
  • The epidemiological surveillance to prevent water-related diseases.

More than 20 percent of the population of Cote D’Ivoire does not have access to clean drinking water. Partners throughout the world are coming together to assist countries like Cote D’Ivoire, which has made an undeniable and significant impact for the better. However, more must be done for the water quality in Cote D’Ivoire to ensure that millions of people are not suffering from preventable disease and premature death just because of the drinking water quality.

Dustin Jayroe

Photo: Flickr

Water Quality in Ukraine
Water in Ukraine is scarce and highly contaminated. The country’s water system is degradable and the tap water should not be consumed by anyone in the southern region of the country.

Overall, water quality in Ukraine has drastically deteriorated in the last decade. Water resources in the country are unevenly distributed and have resulted in high costs for water security. Ukraine’s availability of water has decreased while water contamination has increased due to trace metals and emerging pollutants.

Despite Efforts, Treatment Systems are Imperfect

The water treatment methods for drinking water can only provide partially safe drinking water. The country is concerned that large amounts of chlorine in water treatment processes cause the formation of mutagenic and carcinogenic chlorine organics. These organics have a negative impact on drinking water security and neurogenic health effects. The Ukraine government has recently developed and implemented a national and regulatory framework for strict sanitary measures. Such measures include a law on drinking water standards and increased public awareness on the changing culture of water use in the country.

Water quality in Ukraine is affected by the lack of pipe systems in the southern region of Ukraine and the Crimea. The poor state of water pipelines are a major concern for the country and has led to wasted drinking water and a reduced quality of tap water.

The pressures on water resources in Ukraine are extensive. Eight out of ten southern oblasts, as well as the entire Crimean Republic, do not receive enough water. Poorly treated wastewater is discharged in 136 cities and towns in over 50 urban villages each day. More than 1,000 communities have had to be supplied with delivered water.

Water quality in Ukraine can improve by minimizing contamination of surface and underground water sources. Through improving water treatment, renewing water and sewage pipelines, and funding to implement the country’s draft program that was proposed in 1995,  improvements to water quality in the Ukraine look hopeful.

Rochelle R. Dean

Photo: Flickr

The drinking water in Canada is generally of excellent quality. The risks to the drinking water supply are minimal. However, the minerals, silt, vegetation, fertilizers and agricultural run-off in the water may pose some health risks.

Canada has a multi-barrier approach to safe drinking water which serves as a guideline for every drinking water system and is used to maintain water quality.

The federal government plays the most important role in scientific research monitoring and leadership on the development of guidelines for water quality in Canada. Seventy-five percent of Canadians are serviced by municipal sewer systems and the remaining 25 percent by septic disposal systems. Despite the best efforts of suppliers, municipal water supplies can sometimes become contaminated and in these cases, precautionary measures such as boiling water before consumption is advised.

Municipal water waste discharges were one of the largest sources of pollution to the water quality in Canada in 2006 and generated 84 percent of the water effluents reported to the National Pollutant Release Inventory.

The water quality in Canada earns an ‘A’ grade for water quality and ranks 4th out of 17 peer OECD countries. Water quality in Canada is mostly affected by industrial effluent, agricultural runoff and municipal sewage pollution.

Sewage treatment continues to improve as more municipalities upgrade their treatment facilities and there has been an increase in the frequency and extent to which drinking water guidelines for nitrate have been exceeded in groundwater across the country.

Data collected from the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment’s water quality index reports that from 2007 to 2009, the freshwater quality was rated marginally fair at 41 percent of the water stations, good at 33 percent of the stations and excellent at 10 percent of the stations, with only 16 percent rated poor.

The quality of water in Canada is the best it has ever been and is much better today than it was 30 years ago.

Rochelle R. Dean

Photo: Flickr

Global Water Crisi
The global water crisis not only hurts women around the world but also hurts economies. Water scarcity affects 2.8 billion people around the world for at least one month each year, and more than 1.2 billion people cannot access clean drinking water.

Matt Damon, who co-founded the charity Water.org, told CNN that he has hope that President Trump could help support the fight against the global water crisis. “For every dollar you invest in this sector, you get back four,” Damon said.

Gary White, Damon’s partner in Water.org, said that many women and girls around the world are unable to obtain an education because they must prioritize carrying water for the survival of their families. The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition pointed out that women who focus on education find stable jobs and build economies and markets, which not only benefits them but lifts the world economy as a whole. According to the U.N., women spend about six hours a day in Africa carrying water. Women also do 90% of the work of carrying water in Africa.

Water.org gives microloans called WaterCredit to people in developing countries allowing them to invest in water solutions. Water.org in partnership with Stella Artois, a Belgian beer company, started a campaign called “Buy a Lady a Drink.” The campaign focuses on women who have to carry the water instead of going to school. For this campaign, Stella Artois sells chalices and $6.25 from each one sold goes to Water.org.

White said that the global water crisis is worth the attention because the solution is within reach, easy to understand, and could have widespread benefits that will not only lift millions out of poverty, but create opportunities for businesses all over the developed world as well.

Solving the global water crisis not only improves the health of people in developing nations, but it also improves the global economy.

Jennifer Taggart

Photo: Flickr

Improving Water Quality in Kenya
The water quality in Kenya is affected by factors like climate change, extended periods of drought and catchment degradation. Clean water in Kenya is not only scarce, but it is also not distributed fairly. Those who can pay for clean water in Kenya can much more quickly get access to it than Kenya’s poor. According to the World Health Organization and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), only 63% of the population has access to clean water and a mere 30% has access to sanitation facilities.

Effects and Improvement of Poor Water Quality in Kenya

Many people get their water from the nearest water hole and their toilet is a hole in the back of their home. These water holes are contaminated with raw sewage, as well as industrial wastes, parasites, bacteria and diseases. Without access to clean water and sanitation, more than 20,000 people die annually from preventable diarrheal diseases and water-borne illnesses such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery.

Organizations like Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) are working with local water and sewage companies to improve the water quality and sanitation for Kenya’s poor. In Dandora, a poor community in Nairobi, Kenya, WSUP has laid 23 kilometers of new pipeline to improve water quality in Kenya. Their efforts are providing access to clean water to more than 52,000 people. Prior to this project, as much as 90% of the water intended for the community was illegally diverted or lost because of leaks. People had to buy water from privately-owned boreholes that were often several kilometers away.

Legal and metered water sources have reduced water costs, making it affordable for people in low-income communities. More importantly, access to clean water and toilets has improved. John Chege, a field sociologist with Nairobi City Water and Sewage Company (NCWSC), reports a dramatic reduction in the number of people requesting medicine and treatment for illnesses. Chege states, “From my observations, I think people’s health is improving.”

There is hope that the new pipeline will extend to other low-income communities, improving water quality in Kenya for all people.

Mary Barringer

Photo: Flickr