Launched by the United Nations in 1992, World Water Day is held annually to focus global attention on the importance of water and advocating for the sustainable management of water resources. This year's theme, Water for Cities: Responding to the Urban Challenge, highlights the impact of rapid urban population growth, industrialization, climate change, and natural disasters on urban water systems.
According to World Water Day organizers, the world's cities are growing at an exceptional rate. Fifty percent of the world's population lives in cities of 10 million people or more; however, investments in infrastructure have not kept pace with the rate of urbanization, and water and waste services show significant underinvestment. Increased recycling and reuse of water and treated wastes is key. Adopting more efficient water treatment technologies will also help to minimize environmental and downstream pollution.
Many American National Standards (ANS) promote quality drinkable water. The American Water Works Association, an ANSI member and accredited standards developer, has published a number of standards that address water treatment and water quality. AWWA G100-05, Water Treatment Plant Operation and Management, covers requirements for the effective operation and management of drinking water treatment plants, including maintaining water quality, system management programs, and operation and maintenance of facilities. AWWA B202-07, Quicklime and Hydrated Lime, describes various types of lime for use in water supply service.
Two additional ANS promoting water quality were developed by NSF International, an ANSI member and audited designator. NSF/ANSI 60-2009A, Drinking Water Treatment Chemicals - Health Effects, outlines requirements for drinking water treatment chemicals that are added to water, such as pH adjustment and softening agents. NSF/ANSI 58-2009, Reverse osmosis drinking water treatment systems, addresses point-of-use systems designed for the reduction of substances that may be present in drinking water supplies.
International standards are also in place to support the production and preservation of high quality water. Many have been developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), whose guidelines help to define and test water quality across international borders.
ISO 27108: 2010, Water quality - Determination of selected plant treatment agents and biocide products - Method using solid-phase microextraction (SPME) followed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), specifies a method for determining the dissolved amount of selected plant treatment agents and biocide products in drinking water, ground water, and surface water. This standard was developed by ISO Technical Committee (TC) 147, Water quality, Subcommittee (SC) 2, Physical, chemical, and biochemical methods. ASTM International, an ANSI member and audited designator, is the ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) administrator for this TC and SC.
Standards for water quality are just one component of assuring health and human safety. On the other side of the coin is conformity assessment - activities like testing, inspection, certification, and accreditation. A number of ANSI-accredited certification bodies (CBs) are active in assessing compliance to standards for water quality, including CSA International, IAPMO R&T, NSF International, Underwriters Laboratories, and the Water Quality Association. To learn more about the scopes of accreditation for these bodies, take a look at ANSI's accreditation directory for the Product Certification Accreditation Program, or visit www.ansi.org/accreditation.