Drinking Water Safety

About 50 countries around the world are facing serious water shortages and 2 billion people have problems accessing safe drinking water. In developing countries there are more than 50 kinds of diseases caused by a lack of safe and adequate drinking water. Furthermore, every day in these countries about 650,000 illnesses are caused by water related disease, and 25,000 lives are taken.

In China, the following numbers are anxiously repeated: our per capita water resources are only one quarter of the world average; the distribution of our water resources I unbalanced spatiotemporally; the populations in about 630 Chinese cities are threatened by water pollution, 300 million people in rural areas have drinking water problems, and 44.3% of drinking water in rural areas does not reach basic sanitation and safety standards.

Drinking water safety has become one of WWF-China’s top priorities since 2009. To make sure it stays that way, we continued work on drinking water safety advocacy campaign, focusing on public awareness, pilot projects and policy recommendations for water source protection.

In October 2008, WWF-China signed a five-year MOU with China’s Ministry of Water Resources Center for Rural Drinking Water Safety to help better protect one of China’s most precious resources. As part of the MOU, WWF and the Center released a report on national drinking water safety on October 20, 2010. The report is the first national-level research report about rural drinking water safety in China and is expected to provide important insights and reference for Chinese policy makers.

Successful pilot projects have already been launched in the Tai Lake Basin, an important drinking water source for over 20 million people. Thanks to the support of the HSBC Climate Partnership Program, WWF will continue to work on this crucial project until 2020.

WWF’s Chengdu Programme Office is also working on water conservation demonstration sites in Sichuan Province’s Minjiang River Basin. The villages of Yuantian and Yunqiao have signed up to work on controlling both point pollution and non-point source pollution, which helps protect the overall health of rivers. We measure this through river health scorecards to keep track of their progress in keeping the Minjiang River clean.
© Elizabeth KEMF/WWF
In Developing countries there are more than 50 kinds of diseases caused by a lack of safe and adequate drinking water.
© Elizabeth KEMF/WWF