Viewpoint: Developing and Industrial Nations Agree -- Clean Water is Better!
by Carlos David Mogollón, WC&P Executive Editor
While visiting Indianapolis on vacation recently, I ran across a book on my father's bookshelf I found relevant to WC&P's International Issue, i.e., this edition. Edited and largely written by George W. Reid, it was entitled Appropriate Methods of Treating Water and Wastewater in Developing Countries (Ann Arbor Science: Ann Arbor, Mich., 1982).
Mind you, my father is an engineer -- a native of Bogota, Colombia, who came here in the early '50s to go to school, graduated from Purdue University and retired as assistant state engineer for public works for the State of Indiana in 1992. So, it's not uncommon for him to pick up such technical books for a leisurely read now and then.
Although much of the material in Reid's book is now outdated, it has a very conversational flow that makes it easy to read, discussing case studies in India, Indonesia and Latin America. Still, there are many truisms that remain universal, such as this quote:
"In the design of water supplies, the choice of components, materials and dimensions is often governed by codes of practice or by professional conventions which engineers trained in the West too readily take for granted. And not only do these conventions tend to limit the adaptation of design to local needs, but like the WHO standards for water quality, they are suited to the needs of urban water supply in Europe rather than to village water supply in the tropics…"
While editing Agua Latinoamérica, our sister publication in Spanish and Portuguese, we've found turnkey systems made in the United States often aren't as easily applied in Latin America where water conditions are more variable than assumed. For example, electrical power and pressure may be inconsistent and silica content is often underestimated.
We've endeavored through this annual edition and our "World Spotlight" column to broaden the scope of water treatment professionals' knowledge through a variety of topics since inaugurating a more comprehensive International Issue in September 1997. On the wall of my office I have an old world map with colored stickpins in it marking areas of the world featured in these pages. Only the remotest areas seem to have been missed over the past six years -- Mongolia, New Zealand, Paraguay, Madagascar, Iceland…
Now, this edition isn't just about water treatment in the developing world. Just about every country in Europe has had at least one topic covered in our International Issue. We've covered commercial/industrial, municipal and residential issues. We've written about premier events such as Aquatech Amsterdam, European Union standards and regulation as well as Aqua Europa, a federation of national water treatment associations. It remains questionable how successful the federation's reorganization efforts -- under way now -- will be in making it a more cohesive, effective industry representative in Europe.
We would like to think our global coverage is worthwhile in that it makes the industry a little smaller and more neighborly. We hope you agree and enjoy reading in the following pages about related issues in Honduras, West Bengal, Korea, Europe, Canada, etc.
Meanwhile, congratulations to Steve Maxwell, a contributor to our Drinking Water Dollars column since February 1999 and managing director of TechKNOWLEDGEy Strategic Group, who now also will write a bi-monthly column in the Journal AWWA called "Market Outlook." The first one appeared in the August issue.
On a sad note, we understand Dr. Jovito Y. Deauna, 72, president of the WQA of the Philippines, died on May 30. A dentist by training, he ran an insurance company for over 30 years before getting into water treatment in 1989 when he founded Aquaclean, which set up nearly 200 independent water filling stations there since 1995. You can find his obituary at the WQA website (see: www.wqa.org/sitelogic.cfm?ID=1274). Our sympathies go out to his family and colleagues.
Other news highlights at the WQA website include:
* FCC grants stay of new regulations governing fax advertising until January 2005
* New schedule: Mid-Year conference coincides with IBWA/Worldwide Food Expo
* Sweeping Canadian drinking water quality legislation may affect entire industry
Of course, you can also read about these and other latest developments in the water industry on this website at Breaking News.
Lastly, the most recent updates to the World Health Organization's Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality, scheduled for full release later this year, can be found at: www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/guidelines2/en/