US water ranked 12th in worldwide water quality report

 (Reprinted from Water Technology Magazine Website).  03/09/03

WASHINGTON — The United States ranks 12th in the world in water quality among 122 nations, according to a report issued by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The report took an in-depth look at every major dimension of water use and management, from the growth of cities to the threat of looming water wars between countries, the UN report said.

The report ranked 122 countries according to the quality of their water as well as their ability and commitment to improve the situation, UN officials said.

The rankings were composite figures based upon a range of factors such as the quantity and quality of freshwater, especially groundwater, wastewater treatment facilities as well as legal issues such as the application of pollution regulations, UNESCO said.

The top ranking in the world went to Finland and rounding out the top 10, in order, were Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Japan, Norway, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Korea, Sweden and France, UNESCO reported.

Belgium was considered the worst country in terms of water quality due to the low quantity and quality of its groundwater combined with heavy industrial pollution and poor treatment of wastewater, according to UNESCO.

Morocco, India, Jordan and Sudan followed as the countries with the worst five rankings, the report said.

With more than 25 world maps, numerous charts, graphs and seven case studies of major river basins, the report analyzes how diverse societies cope with water scarcity, including policies that work or don’t work.

The report will be formally presented to the international community on World Water Day, 22 March, during the World Water Forum in Kyoto.

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