Water is often thought of in terms of a particular purpose and not just as a basic human right and need. We ask ourselves is the quality of the water good enough for the use we want to make of it? There are numerous examples of how the quality of water fit for one purpose may very well be unacceptable for others. Here are some of these examples; the quality of lake water, for instance may be trusted enough to swim in it, but not enough to drink. On the other hand, drinking water can be used for irrigation, but water used for irrigation may not meet drinking water standards.
It is the true quality of the water that determines its uses. Drinking water, for example, is regulated by guidelines stringent enough to protect human health and the lack of such guidelines can lead to a variety of health problems which are in some cases deadly. It has been estimated that contaminated water and poor sanitation cause 30,000 deaths around the world daily–the equivalent of 100 jumbo jets crashing every day!
To ensure this quality, we need to manage water effectively. It is no secret that cities now face an increasingly wide array of challenges with the growing demand for water going in parallel with the increasing demographic pressure and industrial activities, urban growth, depleting of natural resources, and climate change which are collectively upsetting the environmental balance and adversely affecting the living conditions of people around the world.
Given the uniqueness of communities around the globe and the complexity of the issues they are facing, it is vital that we come up with sustainable, creative and practical solutions that will stand the test of time. These solutions and systems must be locally inspired and managed but still have world class standards to ensure efficiency and sustainability.