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Clearing the waters

This report synthesises data and published studies into water quality problems and potential solutions, highlighting successful attempts to prevent pollution, treat contaminated water, and protect ecosystems.

It gives an overview of major water contaminants, such as nutrients and trace metals, and describes human activities that affect water quality, including agriculture, industry and population growth. Additional sections outline the environmental, health and economic impacts of poor water quality.

Case studies from Europe, Latin America and South Asia are used to discuss ways of improving water quality. These are followed up by key recommendations for the international community, governments, communities and households.  

They include using technologies for pollution prevention and wastewater treatment; strengthening legal guidelines for pollution prevention; ensuring that good data are available and monitoring is ongoing; and building capacity for effective interventions.

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