Water P-Notes

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These practitioner notes (P-Notes) are published by the Water Sector Board of the Sustainable Development Network of the World Bank Group. P-Notes are a synopsis of larger World Bank documents in the water sector.

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    Protecting the Quality of Public Water-Supply Sources : A Guide for Water Utilities, Municipal Authorities, and Environmental Agencies
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009-01) Foster, Stephen ; Hirata, Richardo ; Gomes, Daniel ; D'Elia, Monica ; Paris, Marta
    Water-supply quality is too often taken for granted. Because we can see rivers and streams, they command most attention when talk turns to water quality but subsurface aquifers are every bit as important as a source of public water-supply and are also under threat of pollution. Acting now to protect them makes sound economic sense, because it is always cheaper to maintain the quality of groundwater resources, and of individual water-supply sources, than to mitigate the damage once done. But timely action depends on awareness of the urgent need to protect groundwater and to do this the authors must be able to identify clearly the threats they face. Because it is unrealistic to prohibit all potentially-polluting activities and the economically sound approach is to identify what are the most significant pollution threats, which parts of the land surface are most vulnerable to pollution of underlying groundwater and whether any such pollution will impact existing public water-supply sources. Such a procedure, which is described in this book, provides the direct focus required on the protection measures necessary to conserve the quality of any given groundwater supply source.
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    Groundwater in Rural Development : Facing the Challenges of Supply and Resource Sustainability
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-10) Foster, Stephen ; Chilton, John ; Moench, Marcus ; Cardy, Franklin ; Schiffler, Manuel
    Some 200 million people lived on Planet Earth at the start of the modern era. That number rose to 2.5 billion by 1950. At mid-2008, the population is now 7.0 billion and is expected to reach 9.0 billion by 2040. It thus took 1,950 years for the global population to grow ten-fold but only an additional 58 years to nearly triple. And throughout this period the global availability of water resources has remained more or less constant. Growing ever more food to feed rising populations will be possible only with increasingly large amounts of water being used for agricultural irrigation, even allowing for further advances in plant genetics. Groundwater widely developed by private initiative but often stimulated by 'soft loan' finance, guaranteed crop prices, and rural energy subsidies will be a very important source of irrigation water. At the same time groundwater will continue to be the predominant source of household water for the rural population in developing nations.
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    Groundwater in Urban Development : Assessing Management Needs & Formulating Policy Strategies
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-10) Foster, Stephen ; Lawrence, Adrian ; Morris, Brian
    People have clustered at the water's edge throughout civilization for the most fundamental of reasons: without water there is no life. Every major city in the world has a body of water or aquifer nearby, since rivers and lakes predetermined where people would gather and dwell, groundwater constitutes about 98 percent of the fresh water on our planet (excepting that captured in the polar ice caps). This makes it fundamentally important to human life and to all economic activity. Groundwater resources in and around the urban centers of the developing world are exceptionally important as a source of relatively low-cost and generally high-quality municipal and domestic water supply. At the same time, the subsurface has come to serve as the receptor for much urban and industrial wastewater and for solid waste disposal. There are increasingly widespread indications of degradation in the quality and quantity of groundwater, serious or incipient, caused by excessive exploitation and/or inadequate pollution control. The scale and degree of degradation varies significantly with the susceptibility of local aquifers to exploitation-related deterioration and their vulnerability to pollution. Management strategies need to recognize and to address the complex linkages that exist between groundwater supplies, urban land use, and effluent disposal. Groundwater tables have become the focus of keen interest in recent years, as the supplies of water underlying urban areas have dwindled and deteriorated, threatening the millions of people who live above. When conditions are right, aquifers refill regularly from infiltrating rainfall and runoff, although sometimes with a substantial time lag. But those favorable conditions are severely altered when the ground above is overbuilt.