Water contamination high on industry agenda

Changing weather patterns and an increased terrorist threat pose new challenges for those tasked with protecting our water supply from contamination.

Those working in the water industry rubbed shoulders with regulators, academics and professionals from the public sector at a conference on Water Contamination Emergenices in London this week.

A huge array of presentations were on offer, following three main strands that boiled down to how to avoid contamination and how to deal with it when preventative measures fail; how to process data and information to give the best chance of early warning and avoidance; who to tell and how when the worse does happen.

Although the range of information on offer was impressive and varied, it appeared that in today political and planetary climates, two new themes were emerging.

Delegates heard how both extremes of precipitation - no rainfall or too much - can both lead to a surge in contamination of water supplies and this was likely to be a more commonplace problem as we increasingly feel the effects of climate change.

And while it was pointed out that deliberate contamination was not a new phenomenon, with less scrupulous warlords bringing medieval sieges to a swift conclusion by dumping a carcass or two into the local well, the increased terrorist threat in recent years had moved this issue up the industry's agenda.

Sam Bond


| drought


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