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The application of Appropriate Technology

WHO Guidelines For Drinking-water Quality, 4th Edition

The primary purpose of the Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality is the protection of public health.

Water is essential to sustain life, and a satisfactory (adequate, safe and accessible) supply must be available to all. Improving access to safe drinking-water can result in tangible benefits to health. Every effort should be made to achieve a drinking-water quality as safe as practicable.

Safe drinking-water, as defined by the Guidelines, does not represent any significant risk to health over a lifetime of consumption, including different sensitivities that may occur between life stages. Those at greatest risk of waterborne disease are infants and young children, people who are debilitated or living under unsanitary conditions and the elderly. Safe drinking-water is suitable for all usual domestic purposes, including personal hygiene. The Guidelines are applicable to packaged water and ice intended for human consumption. However, water of higher quality may be required for some special purposes, such as renal dialysis and cleaning of contact lenses, or for certain purposes in food production and pharmaceutical use. Those who are severely immunocompromised may need to take additional steps, such as boiling drinking water, due to their susceptibility to organisms that would not normally be of concern through drinking-water. The Guidelines may not be suitable for the protection of aquatic life or for some industries.

You can read the whole document as a PDF file (5.5mb)