Please check out the new WECF website on!

Stay here to browse our website archive (2004-2019).

WECF Deutschland

WECF France

WECF Nederland




World Water Day 2015: Millions of people in the WHO European Region rely on water of unknown quality

WECF: Regulations on small-scale water supplies need to be improved and implemented. Joint efforts are needed towards increased safe water supply

20.03.2015 |

In the WHO European Region, small-scale water supplies serve about 200 million people (23%). About half of these supplies are managed by people who havenít been trained to operate water supplies. And in many countries, the supplies are not monitored on water quality at all.

Lack of monitoring and data

65 million people (8%) make use of water from individual wells, non-piped supplies or supplies serving up to 50 people. In many countries, these supplies are not monitored on water quality at all. The European Union allows Member States to exempt water supplies serving up to 50 people from regulations of the Drinking Water Directive (DWD), unless the supply is used for commercial purposes. Hence, 44 percent of the Member States make use of this exemption and millions of people rely on water of unknown quality.
In the WHO European Region, registration of disease outbreaks related to small-scale water supplies is very limited. In approximately 50 percent of the countries, no epidemiological data exist on these outbreaks.

Possible improvements

A lot of improvements are still needed to fulfill the human right to safe water. Even in the WHO European region, including the European Union. Simple and affordable solutions are needed, especially in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia.

For instance, the introduction of portable laboratories could be a first step in making a rapid assessment of the water quality in rural areas, followed by a risk assessment of the supply systems and training of water operators to accomplish a Water Safety Plan (WSP) for their system. For more information on developing a WSP in a rural community, click here.

For more information on this issue, please download the draft report on results of a survey conducted under the Protocol on Water and Health.

Related News

Together for sustainable sanitation and water security worldwide!
Stockholm, 26-31 Aug 2018: WECF participated in the World Water Week 2018 to further support the worldwide implementation of SDG 6

Successful first action against algae overgrowth in the Blue Lake in Ukraine
Using fish to fight the overgrowth of algae

English summary of WECF publication on pesticides in surface waters in Dutch province Drenthe
For our non Dutch readers we now publish an English summary of the publication about pesticide pollution in the surface waters of Drenthe

WECF participated at WASH symposium in Uganda
From June 20th-23rd, a WASH symposium was held in Kampala, Uganda. WECF participated in cooperation with our local partner organization ARUWE and we presented our water, sanitation and energy projects in Uganda.

We've made it - overwhelming success of our crowdfunding campaign!
In the last 4 weeks we run a crowdfunding campaign to collect 4.000Ä to finance 15 Biogas Toilets for deprived families in Uganda. Thanks to your great support we can now build even more!