N2-Water Supply Concerns

Problems of inadequate water and sanitation facilities exist throughout the world and have been particularly acute in the poorer countries.
In the economically advanced countries, most of the urban and rural population is served by safe and dependable supplies that control waterborne disease, and provide water without unacceptable colour, odour, and taste. Despite this general situation, critical problems of water supply exist in various locations. Most significant is the competing off-stream use of water for energy, agriculture, and municipal and industrial needs, coupled with increasing pollution in watercourses used for water supplies that have caused severe water supply problems. Most pollution is caused by direct and indirect discharges of municipal and industrial wastes and by surface runoff from rainfall on urbanized, agricultural, and mining areas. Groundwater and surface water pollution is recognized increasingly as a serious problem, due to contamination from animal feed lots, community land fills, toxic and hazardous materials, septic tanks and cesspools, and municipal and industrial discharges. Once contaminated, groundwater and surface water recovery is typically slow, and the cost of treating water from such sources is high. In many areas, the increasing water demand has caused diminished water pressure, declining spring and stream flow, decreasing land subsidence, and increasing saltwater-intrusion problems as a result of excessive withdrawals of groundwater and surface water.

Many cases of waterborne illnesses, primarily of bacterial or viral origin, are still reported each year, but the actual total, including more difficult to identify chemical poisonings, is larger. Medical science has begun to address the issues of chemical carcinogens that involve latency periods of 20 or more years before disease symptoms can be identified, as well as problems of acute chemical toxicity. With the emphasis on more intensive use and reuse of available water supplies, quality improvement is an increasingly important issue.

Water quality conditions in many developing areas of the world are so bad that people rely on water that has nearly the same composition as sewage water in Canada. Since there are no clean water sources available, the people in these communities rely on these terrible water quality conditions for their survival.