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close this bookTowards Sustainable Water Resources Management - A Strategic Approach (European Commission, 1998, 351 pages)
close this folderPart III: Aids for the application of the strategic approach
close this folderChapter 12: Glossary of key concepts
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAppropriate modern technology
View the documentAwareness raising
View the documentBasic needs/Basic services
View the documentBeijing Global Platform for Action
View the documentCapacity building
View the documentClean technology
View the documentCommunications techniques
View the documentDecentralised co-operation
View the documentDemand management
View the documentEconomic and financial analysis
View the documentEcosystem management
View the documentEnvironmental analysis
View the documentEnvironmental economic valuation
View the documentEnvironmental sanitation
View the documentGender
View the documentHygiene (or health) education
View the documentIndigenous Technical Knowledge (ITK)
View the documentIntegrated water resources management
View the documentInternational water law
View the documentKnowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP) studies
View the documentMarginal cost pricing
View the documentMetering
View the documentMonitoring Indicators
View the documentParticipation
View the documentParticipatory Appraisal
View the documentParticipatory Irrigation Management (PIM)
View the documentParticipatory Technology Development (PTD)
View the documentPolicy Review
View the document'Polluter pays' principle
View the documentPrivate sector participation
View the documentRamsar Convention
View the documentRegulatory systems
View the documentRe-use and recycling of water
View the documentRiver Basin Organisations (RBOs)
View the documentSocial data collection
View the documentSocial Impact Assessment (SIA)
View the documentStakeholders
View the documentSocial mobilisation
View the documentSubsidiarity principle
View the documentTariffs
View the documentTariff structures
View the documentTransboundary waters
View the documentVirtual water
View the documentWater-borne diseases
View the documentWater laws and legislation
View the documentWater Markets
View the documentWater ownership
View the documentWater quality standards
View the documentWater User Associations
View the documentWillingness-to-pay (WTP) surveys

Water quality standards

Whether water quality is satisfactory will depend on its intended use (e.g. drinking, other domestic usage such as bathing, irrigation, industrial use). Factors such as scarcity will also affect the quality standards applied. Setting these standards, which should be enshrined in law, is the responsibility of the government regulatory authority regarding water in the country or state concerned; WHO has issued international guidelines to facilitate this process although they can be demanding. Some variables are critical to human health and should be checked whatever the level of service; for example, for drinking water, E. coil and total coliform bacteria should not be detectable in any 100 ml sample. However, the high level of public health importance placed on water quality in municipal water and wastewater services may not be appropriate for basic water supply services. Studies have shown that water quantity often plays a more significant role than water quality in improving health and reducing morbidity from water-related disease in low-income communities. The time, energy and difficulty of water-hauling means that, typically, very little water is used in the household for any purpose, and this coupled with inadequate means of excreta disposal has a greater impact on health than lack of safe water. In addition, water often becomes contaminated between the source of supply and its use (see Hygiene education, above). Thus, obtaining high standards of water quality in basic services schemes may be less important than making available a high volume per capita at a close distance to the home. Measuring water quality is a technical procedure; laboratories and suitable equipment will be needed. Further information: WHO, Guidelines for drinking water quality, 1993.