Securing efficient, reliable and safe water supply

The challenge
Access to clean and safe drinking water is at the very core of sustainable development and critical to the survival of people and the planet. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG6) focuses on the challenge of providing safe and affordable drinking water for all. However, with 850 million people still living without access to basic drinking water, the road to success is long.

The future
Water must be treated as the vital resource it is to avoid water scarcity and ensure that people and ecosystems have an efficient and safe water supply. The optimal type of service and treatment depends on local conditions and the availability of water sources – be it either groundwater, surface water or desalinated seawater. Regardless of the source, drinking water regulations is a powerful tool to achieve SDG 6.

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Access to clean and safe drinking water is a prerequisite for human life. However, according to WHO, nearly 850 million people still lack access to even a basic drinking water service. The optimal type of service and treatment depends on local conditions and the availability of water sources – groundwater, surface water or desalinated seawater. In any case, the raw water must receive adequate treatment to meet drinking water regulations. In Denmark, all tap water is based on groundwater, which only requires simple treatment before being distributed in a sealed pipe system to the customers. This saves costs and eliminates the need for chlorine and other chemicals while minimising the risk of bacteria. The end-result is great tasting and safe tap water.

Providing safe and affordable drinking water is a cornerstone in the UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6). This requires a combination of high quality water sources, effective treatment plants and an efficient distribution network with minimum water loss. Water supply in Denmark is highly decentralised with waterworks situated all over the country. Quite uniquely, the country uses groundwater as its sole source of drinking water. As a result, only simple treatment is needed and tap water is not chlorinated thanks to a highly efficient distribution system where bacteria and other impurities are minimised. Danish companies working abroad have also developed decentralised solutions for water supply in remote areas.

According to the UN, global water consumption will increase with up to 30 percent by 2020. In order to meet the future demand, there needs to be a strong focus on efficient water distribution. Non-Revenue Water (NRW) or urban water loss is a major global challenge as 25-50 percent of all distributed water globally is lost or never invoiced due to illegal connections, inaccurate billing systems, inaccurate metering, physical leakages, deteriorating infrastructure, wrong water pressure management, etc. Danish water utilities have managed to achieve a national NRW average of just 8 percent. Each utility has developed its own strategy tailored to local circumstances, which typically includes a holistic NRW master plan, ongoing monitoring and pressure management as well as the use of high quality components such as water meters, valves, pumps and pipes.

Connect with us: Tanya Gottlieb Jacobsen, Deputy Director and Head of Water & Climate Change Adaptation, [email protected]


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