January 04, 2023 3 min read

Key facts from WHO (World Health Organisation)

  • Over 2 billion people live in water-stressed countries, which is expected to be exacerbated in some regions as result of climate change and population growth.
  • Globally, at least 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with faeces. Microbial contamination of drinking-water as a result of contamination with faeces poses the greatest risk to drinking-water safety.
  • While the most important chemical risks in drinking water arise from arsenic, fluoride or nitrate, emerging contaminants such as pharmaceuticals, pesticides, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) and microplastics generate public concern.
  • Safe and sufficient water facilitates the practice of hygiene, which is a key measure to prevent not only diarrhoeal diseases, but acute respiratory infections and numerous neglected tropical diseases.
  • Microbiologically contaminated drinking water can transmit diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio and is estimated to cause 485 000 diarrhoeal deaths each year.
  • In 2020, 74% of the global population (5.8 billion people) used a safely managed drinking-water service – that is, one located on premises, available when needed, and free from contamination.

Overview 

Safe and readily available water is important for public health, whether it is used for drinking, domestic use, food production or recreational purposes. 

In 2010, the UN General Assembly explicitly recognized the human right to water and sanitation. Everyone has the right to sufficient, continuous, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic use.

Drinking-water services

Sustainable Development Goal target 6.1 calls for universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water. The target is tracked with the indicator of “safely managed drinking water services” – drinking water from an improved water source that is located on premises, available when needed, and free from faecal and priority chemical contamination. 

Water and health

Contaminated water and poor sanitation are linked to transmission of diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio. Absent, inadequate, or inappropriately managed water and sanitation services expose individuals to preventable health risks. 

Inadequate management of urban, industrial and agricultural wastewater means the drinking-water of hundreds of millions of people is dangerously contaminated or chemically polluted. Natural presence of chemicals, particularly in groundwater, can also be of health significance, including arsenic and fluoride, while other chemicals, such as lead, may be elevated in drinking-water as a result of leaching from water supply components in contact with drinking-water.

Some 829 000 people are estimated to die each year from diarrhoea as a result of unsafe drinking-water, sanitation and hand hygiene. Diarrhoea is the most widely known disease linked to contaminated food and water but there are other hazards. In 2017, over 220 million people required preventative treatment for schistosomiasis – an acute and chronic disease caused by parasitic worms contracted through exposure to infested water.

Challenges 

Historical rates of progress would need to double for the world to achieve universal coverage with basic drinking water services by 2030. To achieve universal safely managed services, rates would need to quadruple. Climate change, increasing water scarcity, population growth, demographic changes and urbanization already pose challenges for water supply systems. Over 2 billion people live in water-stressed countries, which is expected to be exacerbated in some regions as result of climate change and population growth.

Our response 

Novus has a mission, aligned directly to UN SDG 6 Clean water for all, 3 Health and Wellbeing, 12 Responsible Consumption and 13 Climate Action, to develop purification technology to bring the highest quality water to where it’s needed, anywhere in the world, at point of use, while sustainably reducing the reliance on plastic bottled water.  

To achieve this, we have developed a proprietary high-speed, low energy distillation technology capable of treating previously untreatable water sources, to the purest drinking water standards, consistently, with no consumable parts, allowing this vital resource to be available on tap to rural homes and businesses anywhere in the world.

To learn more about our products and technology, click here to learn more.

Duncan Peters
Duncan Peters

Chief Purifier - Duncan has been on a journey to improve water purification for over 5 years. When he's not working on water purifiers at Novus, he's writing articles about water, is out exploring nature, or can be found mountain biking in Scotland.



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