World Water Day highlights the importance of freshwater and advocates for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. This year's theme, "Water Quality," addressed the important of quality alongside quantity in water management initiatives.
According to World Water Day materials, water quality is declining worldwide, mainly due to human activities such as increasing population growth, rapid urbanization, and the discharge of new pathogens and new chemicals from industries. Prevention of water pollution is the first priority to sustain water quality.
Many American National Standards (ANS) exist to promote quality drinkable water across the nation. 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. ANSI/AWWA B100-2009, Filtering Material, covers gravel, silica sand, high-density media, anthracite filter materials, and the placement of the materials in filters for water supply service application.
Another ANS provides guidelines on the use of reverse osmosis to treat drinking water. 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. This standard was developed by NSF International, an ANSI member and audited designator.
ASTM International, an ANSI member and audited designator, developed a standard that guides water quality measurement programs. ASTM D5612-94(2008), Standard Guide for Quality Planning and Field Implementation of a Water Quality Measurement Program, addresses the sampling aspects of environmental data generation activities.
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, whose guidelines help to define and test water quality across international borders.
One such standard is ISO 10523:2008, Water quality - Determination of pH. Test methods detailed in this document can be used on rain, drinking and mineral waters, bathing waters, surface and ground waters, and municipal and industrial waste waters.
This standard was developed by ISO Technical Committee (TC) 147, Water quality, subcommittee (SC) 2, Physical, chemical, and biochemical methods. ASTM is the ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) administrator for this TC and SC.
But standards for water quality are just one component of assuring health and human safety. The other side of the coin is conformance - or conformity assessment - activities like testing, inspection, certification, and accreditation. A number of ANSI-accredited certification bodies (CBs) are very 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.
UNESCO, UNECE, and FAO have posted pictures showing how World Water Day 2010 was celebrated around the globe. Click here for more information.