Located just between France and Spain lies the principality of Andorra, a small country taking up only 468 square kilometers. With a GNI per capita of $46,650, one might assume that the nation’s water quality is top notch. However, this is not completely true, and only quite recently has water quality in Andorra seen significant improvement.
The country’s work on wastewater purification began in 1996. Since then, four water purification plants have been built in Andorra. Additionally, the Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Sustainable Development in Andorra monitors the country’s water quality by sampling at various time intervals among 37 stations.
The Ministry also actively conducts practical work on the extraction of solid wastes from rivers. Just last year, over 17 thousand tons of refuse were extracted from the Andorran river systems.
As of March 2017, the Ministry reported that the volume of high-quality surface waters in the country was about 86 percent, while eight percent was of acceptable quality, three percent was of poor quality and the remaining three percent was of very poor quality.
By comparison, only 40 percent of surface waters in Andorra were high quality in 2005. Silvia Calvó, the Minister of Environment, Agriculture and Sustainable Development in Andorra, stated that the country currently purifies nearly 100 percent of their sewage.
The rising water quality not only improves the drinking water for citizens, but it also helps restore river fauna habitats. The otter populations are also rising within the Andorran ecosystem.
Although it is recommended that tourists drink bottled water until their immune systems adjust to some small concentrations of E. coli that may be present in their water supply, Andorra’s citizens safely consume the water. Andorra has clearly been dedicated to cleaning their water supply through home-grown programs such as the Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Sustainable Development in Andorra. Because of this, water quality in Andorra has improved remarkably within past decades.
– Shannon Golden