An invisible water crisis is affecting water quality globally

  • 09.10.2022
  • Innovation News Network

Water quality issues are branded as an ‘invisible water crisis’ by the World Bank, as they are under-monitored, difficult to detect, and often invisible to the human eye. Nevertheless, the quality of global water resources is increasingly coming under pressure due to population growth, economic development, and climate change.

Clean water is vital for our societal needs, such as public health, energy generation, and crop production, along with protecting the health of our ecosystems. Around 829,000 worldwide deaths each year are thought to be related to the use of contaminated water for drinking or sanitation purposes.

The researchers developed a new, high-resolution global water quality model which can “help to fill-in-the-gaps in water quality knowledge, particularly in world regions where we lack observations,” said Edward Jones, lead author of the study.

In addition to identifying hotspots of water quality issues, the model can help with attributing the source of pollution to particular sectors. “For instance, large-scale irrigation systems for agriculture drive salinity issues in Northern India, while industrial processes are more responsible in eastern China. Conversely, the domestic and livestock sectors drive organic and pathogen pollution worldwide,” Jones remarked.