News Items Archive 2013

Please note that, for some of the older entries, links may no longer be functional.

Norovirus detection in water using PCR (Posted 31/12/2013)
French workers have developed a method for detecting norovirus in water based on viral concentration by filtration on electropositive filters and direct lysis of adsorbed viruses from filters before RNA extraction and RT-qPCR amplification. They then use a one-step multiplex RT-qPCR assay developed for the simultaneous detection of NoV GI, NoV GII and MNV-1( murine norovirus). Water samples were artificially contaminated to determine mean virus recoveries and method sensitivity. The method showed a higher sensitivity for detecting NoV GII (103 genome copies per 05 l) than for NoV GI (104 genome copies per 05 l) in the presence of MNV-1 regardless of the type of water. The data also showed that MNV-1 is a robust option as a process control. The method described provides a valuable tool for the monitoring of potential public health risks associated with NoV contamination in potable water. (Abstract)

Salmonella in biofilms (Posted 16/12/2013)
Lab scale investigations into the ability of Salmonella to form biofilms in monoculture and the fate and persistence of Salmonella in a mixed aquatic biofilm were carried out. In monoculture S. typhimurium formed loosely structured biofilms. Salmonella colonized established multi-species drinking water biofilms within 24 hours, forming micro-colonies within the biofilm. S. typhimurium was also released at high levels from the drinking water-associated biofilm into the water passing through the system. This indicated that Salmonella could enter into, survive and grow within, and be released from a drinking water biofilm. The ability of Salmonella to survive and persist in a drinking water biofilm, and be released at high levels into the flow for recolonization elsewhere, indicates the potential for a persistent health risk to consumers once a network becomes contaminated with this bacterium. (Abstract)

BisphenolA (BPA) more harmful than thought. (Posted 12/12/2013)
In 2007, a group of experts critically analyzed hundreds of publications on bisphenol A (BPA), including the evidence for low dose effects. An update of these evaluations concludes that several dozen "low dose" studies show effects of BPA at doses that humans are thought to encounter in their everyday lives. It concludes that the doses that reliably produce effects in animals are 1–4 magnitudes of order lower than the current LOAEL of 50 mg/kg/day and many should be considered adverse. With the knowledge that such tiny amounts of BPA can have such far-reaching implications for humans and wildlife, stricter regulations of this chemical and other endocrine disruptors should be fast on its heels. (Abstract)

The update details the effects of BPA exposure both in vitro and in vivo, and how it contributes to a large range of health problems in humans, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, immune response to allergens, behavioral problems and decreased fertility. The effects on wildlife are also widespread.

A real-time PCR assay for detection of Cl. perfringens in water (Posted 26/11/2013)
Canadian workers have compared a concentration and recovery procedure coupled with real-time PCR assay (CRENAME) to detect Cl. perfringens in drinking water with a conventional culture method. CRENAME could detect 1 Cl. perfringens in 100ml in less than 5 hours whereas the cultural procedure required at least 25hrs and it could also be developed to allow detection of E.coli in the same sample. (Abstract)

New ISO standard method for coliforms and E.coli (Posted 26/11/2013)
The international standard for the detection and enumeration of E. coli and coliform bacteria in drinking water by membrane filtration (ISO 9308-1) is currently under revision and will be published in 2014. In the new standard, lactose–triphenyl tetrazolium chloride (TTC) agar will be replaced by chromogenic coliform agar (CCA) which relies on detection of β-D-galactosidase and β-D-glucuronidase. A performance validation of the revised method according to ENV ISO 13843 was carried out to determine fundamental data on its applicability and to provide reference data for secondary validation by users of this method. Although the robustness of the method with respect to the variable incubation time of 21 3 h was found to be low, because an incidental increase in presumptive colonies especially between 18 and 21 h was observed, the report concludes that the CCA method was proved as a reliable method for the quantification of E. coli and coliform bacteria. (Abstract)

Glyphosate degradation and removal in water treatment (Posted 24/10/2013)
Workers at WRc have published a review of the reported efficiency in removal and degradation of glyphosate and aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) by some commonly employed treatment options, and carried out additional experiments where knowledge gaps have been identified. Although of low toxicity, the presence ofglyphosate in drinking water is undesirable and can cause drinking water compliance failure in the EU if found at concentrations >0.1 μg L-1. Oxidants used in water treatment, particularly Cl2 and O3, are highly effective in degrading glyphosate and AMPA but removal by coagulation and activated carbon is ineffective as a barrier against contamination in drinking water. UV treatment is also ineffective for glyphosate and AMPA degradation but the combination of UV/H2O2 provided significant degradation of glyphosate, but not AMPA, under the conditions investigated. UV/TiO2 treatment can degrade significant amounts of glyphosate but the irradiation time needed is long. Removal or degradation by bank filtration, slow sand filtration, ClO2 and membranes is variable but can provide significant removal under the right conditions. (Details)

Pathogenic amoebae in tap water (Posted 02/10/2013)
US workers investigated the deaths from Naegleria fowleri infection of 2 children in Arizona with no history of swimming in surface waters. Using nested PCR they detected the pathogenic amoeba in several samples from the domestic water supply in the houses of both children. The supply was by a private Company from a well or holding tank depending on demand and was not filtered or disinfected. The paper includes a useful review of water supply related Naegleria fowleri cases. Naegleria fowleri causes infection only via the nasal passages and not through ingestion.

Interventions to improve water quality for preventing diarrhoea (Posted 02/10/2013)
A recently published review examined trials of interventions to improve the microbiological quality of drinking water and reduced incidence of diarrhoea. These include conventional improvements at the water source (eg protected wells, bore holes, and stand posts) and point-of-use interventions at the household level (eg chlorination, filtration, solar disinfection, and combined flocculation and disinfection). The review covered 38 independent comparisons from 30 trials that involved more than 53,000 people. In general, such interventions were effective in reducing episodes of diarrhoea. Household interventions were more effective in preventing diarrhoea than those at the source. However, differences in the interventions and the settings in which they were introduced, as well as the methods and measurements of effect, limit the extent to which generalizations can be made. Further research, including blinded trials and longer-term assessments, is necessary to understand the full impact of these interventions.

UKWIR Newsletter (Posted 02/10/2013)
The latest edition of the UKWIR Newsletter is now available. It describes a number of recent activities and lists all projects let since April 2012, with the appointed contractors.

Priority Substances Directive amendment (Posted 02/10/2013)
An amendment to “Directives 2000/60/EC and 2008/105/EC as regards priority substances in the field of water policy” was published on 12 August 2013 as Directive 2013/39/EU.

Direct potable re-use of reclaimed water. (Posted 19/09/2013)
The US Water Research Foundation in conjunction with six California water supply companies is sponsoring two research projects into the direct potable re-use of reclaimed water. Proposals are to be invited for the two projects: Assessment of Techniques for Evaluating and Demonstrating Safety of Direct Potable Reuse Product Water ($275K); Blending Requirements for Water from Direct Potable Reuse Treatment Facilities ($325K).

Norovirus inactivation on copper. (Posted 19/09/2013)
Workers at Southampton University have shown that norovirus is rapidly inactivated on dry copper and copper alloy surfaces, the rate of inactivation being proportional to copper content. Inactivation on copper/nickel alloys was very effective. They suggest that the use of copper surface could help reduce the spread of the virus in high-risk situations such as cruise ships and care homes. (It is not suggested that the use of copper plumbing provides any virucidal benefits). (Paper)

US requires tamper-proof packaging of water treatment chemicals. (Posted 09/09/2013)
The NSF Joint Committee on Drinking Water Treatment Chemicals and the NSF Council of Public Health Consultants (CPHC) have adopted new tamper-evident requirements for packaging of drinking water treatment chemicals. Similar requirements are already in AWWAstandards. (Details)

Responsibility for water supply pipes (Posted 09/09/2013)
CIWEM has issued a policy position statement clarifying the responsibilities of water suppliers and property owners for water supply pipes. (More info)

Biofilm formation (Posted 09/09/2013)
Researchers at Sheffield University have shown that four organisms isolated from tapwater, one of which was Methylobacterium, were unable to form biofilms in isolation. When applied in co-culture with Methylobacterium the other 3 formed biofilms within 72 hours. They suggest that “this bacterium is acting as a bridge, enabling other bacteria to attach to surfaces and produce a biofilm and it’s likely that it’s not the only one that plays this role”. They further speculate that “ it should be possible to control or even prevent the creation of biofilms in the water supply by targeting these particular bacteria, potentially reducing the need for high dosage chemical treatments”. They envisage being able to apply DNA testing to detect organisms capable of inducing biofilm formation. ( it is not clear how the authors think it would be possible to specifically remove or inactivate these organisms if detected MW) (Press release) (Abstract)

Copper in drinking water linked with Alzheimer's disease. (Posted 09/09/2013)
American workers using a rabbit model have shown that trace amounts of copper in drinking water led to development of characteristic plaques in the brain accompanied by learning deficits.
(Paper) (Related reference)

Hexavalent chromium standard – California (Posted 09/09/2013)
The California Department of Public Health is proposing a standard for hexavalent chromium which is 500 times more stringent than the safe level identified by the State's EPA. The proposed standard of 10 ppb is 10 times lower than the EPA standard for total chromium and if adopted could carry a high cost burden. (Details)

Magnetic ion-exchange for control of DBPs (Posted 15/08/2013)
An American company has taken forward the Sirofloc process by coating magnetic particles with ion-exchange resin to enable removal of organic precursors and colour from source water. It is also being developed for removal of phosphorus from wastewater. While FWR does not endorse commercial products this is an interesting development. (Manufacturer's Video)

Water efficiency and charging policy (Posted 15/08/2013)
CIWEM has issued a policy statement proposing that to combat wastefulness and increase efficiency, basic water usage should be charged at low cost with an escalating tariff. (Press Release)

Mycobacteria and biofilms. (Posted 15/08/2013)
A recent paper in the Journal of Applied Microbiology describes research to measure adherence and biofilm formation by cells of Mycobacterium avium, Mycobacterium intracellulare and Mycobacterium abscessus on common household plumbing materials namely stainless steel, glass, zinc-galvanized steel, copper and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Mycobacterium avium, Myco. intracellulare and Myco. abscessus readily adhered and formed biofilms on all types of plumbing materials. Factors influencing adherence and biofilm formation were species, plumbing material and prior growth. (Abstract)

Chloramination – a kinetic modelling approach. (Posted 15/08/2013)
A recent Australian paper notes that formation of chloramines and maintenance of a suitable disinfection environment requires careful control of several operational parameters at the plant and at different locations along the distribution system. A mathematical model to simulate different disinfection conditions, based on chemical equilibrium and kinetic calculations, both at the point of chemical dosing and downstream in the distribution system, was developed. Common operational parameters for chloraminated systems, such as initial chemical dosages and the chlorine to ammonia ratio, were assessed. In addition, simulations of some selected operational strategies, such as breakpoint chlorination and dosing control strategies (feed-back and feed-forward) at a re-dosing station, were conducted and assessed. This modelling approach can be used as a decision support tool for water treatment operators to manage and maintain disinfection. (Abstract)

Water Safety Plans – distance learning course (Posted 29/07/2013)
The University of North Carolina, in collaboration with IWA and Surrey University, is launching in August a 10 week distance learning course on Water Safety Plans will. The course will be run on a recurring basis when demand requires. (Details)

Water usage in the home (Posted 17/07/2013)
The Energy Saving Trust has published a detailed and thought-provoking report on the use of water in the home based on over 100,000 submissions on line from consumers using the Trust's Water Energy Calculator. The report shows that metered households only used 3% less water than unmetered ones although the data is likely to be skewed by virtue of the contributors being interested enough in water usage to use the Calculator and submit data on-line.

Over ⅔ of water is used in showers, baths, lavatories and bathroom sinks with the average shower taking 7 minutes. If every household took 1 minute less in the shower this would save 215 million each year in energy. It estimates that overfilling kettles costs around 68 million a year in energy. (Report)

Water saving campaigns may have adverse consequences (Posted 15/07/2013)
A recent Swiss-US study of a short-term water saving campaign found that, although the programme successfully reduced water use, there was also an overall increase in electricity consumption by participants. The group that received feedback and tips reduced water consumption, on average, by 6% or 15 litres per person per day, compared to the group who had received no feedback. However, in the same water-saving group, electricity consumption increased by 5.6%. This resulted in additional electricity use of 0.89 kWh per person per day. (Report) ( The study was limited and not robust enough to yield definite conclusions)

World water risk areas (Posted 15/07/2013)
A number of global maps are available on-line showing the extent of water risk including resource availability, risk of flooding, and seasonal variability. (Maps)

Leakage reduction research (Posted 01/07/2013)
American Water is a partner to a USD 1.8 million, 2-year award from the Israel-US Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation along with Stream Control Ltd for the development of an advanced pressured management system. This research project demonstrates the feasibility of installing modifications on existing pressure system controls that could reduce pressure in a system in response to reduced customer demand. International efforts to reduce leakage have confirmed that reducing excessive pressure not only reduces the volume of leaks through pipes but reduces the frequency of pipe failures. The expected outcome of the project will enable average reduction of water leakage significantly. (Details)

Virus concentration from water samples (Posted 28/06/2013)
The paper described earlier on this website is now published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology. It looked at the current state of the science of methods for the concentration of viruses from water. Several technologies were reviewed, and associated data were included in a meta-analysis which showed that electronegative filters, electropositive filters and ultrafilters are comparable in performance and that significant differences in recovery are due to virus type rather than filter type, water matrix or sample volume. This information is useful, as it will help to determine which method(s) should be used, particularly if there is a specific viral type being targeted for a particular study. In addition, it will be helpful when sampling different environmental water matrices and/or when budget allowance must be taken into consideration. Taken together, this will be useful in performing viral occurrence studies, which ultimately can help ensure safer water for both humans and the environment. (Paper)

Legionella in Water Systems Code of Practice (Posted 27/06/2013)
The HSE is inviting comments by 23 August 2013 on a proposed revised Code of Practice on the Control of Legionella bacteria in water systems (consultation document). The proposed revision does not radicaly change the advice in the current COP.

Risk map shows European ‘hot spots’ for pharmaceuticals in the environment (Posted 27/06/2013)
A paper has been published describing a newly developed tool which highlights ‘hot spots’ of pharmaceutical pollution in Europe, where human health and aquatic environments could potentially be affected. The tool provides for the location-specific prioritization of human pharmaceutical emissions in Europe, based on risk quotients for the aquatic environment and human health. Its application is illustrated for a set of 11 human antibiotics and 7 antineoplastics. Risk quotients for the aquatic environment were highest for levofloxacin, doxycycline and ciprofloxacin, located in Northern Italy (Milan region; particularly levofloxacin) and other densely populated areas in Europe (e.g. London, Krakow and the Ruhr area).The results suggest that the substances and locations posing the greatest risk are not the same for the aquatic environment as for human health. This is the first tool that can be applied to prioritise pharmaceuticals, locations and exposure groups to identify hot spots for monitoring, and substances for which additional data should be gathered (Summary) A limited comparison with measured concentrations in surface water showed that predicted and measured concentrations are approximately within one order of magnitude.(abstract)

Arsenic removal from groundwater (Posted 03/06/2013)
Within developing countries, groundwater provides an alternative drinking source to polluted surface water. However, the presence of arsenic in some groundwater sources has resulted in chronic worldwide poisoning. The aim of this review was to determine the effectiveness of field-based technologies for the removal of arsenic from groundwater in developing countries. (Paper)

Development of a Bench-Scale Test to Predict the Formation of Nitrosamines (Posted 03/06/2013)
Results of a US Water Research Foundation funded development of a bench scale test to predict the formation of nitrosamines have been published. Although full-scale conditions cannot be exactly replicated in bench-scale tests, the tests shows that this can be a predictive tool.(More info)

Alternative and Innovative Methods for Source Water Management of Algae and Cyanobacteria (Posted 03/06/2013)
The US Water Research Foundation has published the conclusions of a study of methods for managing algae and Cyanobacteria in Drinking Water sources. (Summary report)

Hexavalent Chromium Occurence, Treatment and Costs (Posted 03/06/2013)
The US Water Research Foundation has published an up-date on progress with development of its Research Roadmap on Hexavalent Chromium in Drinking Water. (Details)

UV disinfection knowledge base (Posted 03/06/2013)
The US Water Research Foundation has published a Knowledge Base book which identifies numerous statistics, conclusions, and recommendations for utilities with UV and considering or planning to implement UV disinfection. It is available as a hardback book with a CD-ROM of the database included, and as a PDF download on the Foundation Website. (More info)

Reed bed treatment of waterworks sludge (Posted 13/05/2013)
Essex and Suffolk Water has officially opened the world's first site for the treatment of waterworks sludge using red beds. The 4.2 hectare site receives algae and silt sludge removed from Hanningfield Reservoir raw water and after passing through the reed beds the clarified water is returned to the reservoir. The site replaces a conventional sludge lagoon which has reached the end of its life. (More details)

WHO Water Quality and Health Strategy (Posted 01/05/2013)
WHO has finalized an integrated strategy to guide WHO’s work on water quality and health, developed in response to the World Health Assembly Resolution 64.24. The strategy covers three separate areas of work: drinking-water quality, safe use of wastewater and safe management of recreational waters. (Document)

Implications of Microbial Colonisation of Water within Buildings (Posted 01/05/2013)
UKWIR has published the above report (13/DW/02/67) which aims to provide water companies with an informed assessment of the current knowledge and understanding of the origin and behaviour of the organisms of potential health significance in plumbing systems. The review considers each organism separately and examines their ability to become established in plumbing systems, and suitable control measures. The risks presented by microbial colonisation of water systems in buildings predominantly concern Legionella, although a range of other organisms have also been implicated recently including Pseudomonas aeruginosa. These organisms are generally regarded as opportunistic pathogens, and have the shared ability to colonise plumbing systems. The study recognised that the water safety plan provides an ideal platform for managing the quality of water in buildings, and that all stakeholders have an important role in supporting their development. (Purchase report)

Transporting large volumes of water around the Mediteranean (Posted 01/05/2013)
In order to transport large quantities of fresh water from ‘water-rich’ to ‘water-poor’ areas the EU-funded Refresh project has developed and successfully tested a flexible and cost-effective system to transport fresh water by sea using flexible plastic containers – water-bags – towed by a tugboat. The Refresh water-bag is a composite of modules which can combine to form a 20m-long, 4m-wide container capable of carrying 200 tonnes of fresh water. (Details)

Competitive water market saves millions in Scotland (Posted 25/04/2013)
Businesses in Scotland are spending 65 million less on water than they were five years ago, according to Business Stream, Scotland’s largest provider of non-domestic water and waste water services – and England is poised to follow suit with market deregulation expected there within a few years. April 2013 marks the fifth anniversary of Scotland becoming the world’s first competitive non-domestic water market, which has achieved: (Press Release)

Chlorinous odours in drinking water (Posted 26/04/2013)
Australian workers report development of a new system for classifying water types according to the causes of chlorinous odours.Although causative compounds of the chlorinous off-flavours were not determined, bromine was proposed to play an important role in distribution systems where source waters have high concentrations of bromide that may not be removed by the available treatment processes. Management strategies for improvements in aesthetic water quality for each water type are proposed. (Abstract)

Extreme water-related weather events and waterborne disease (Posted 18/04/2013)
A systematic review of reported waterborne outbreaks following such events explored their distribution between the different types of extreme water-related weather events. 322 waterborne outbreaks were analysed of which 53.7% were the result of contamination of the drinking-water supply. (Paper)

The predictive value of total coliforms in drinking water (Posted 18/04/2013)
Total coliform and Escherichia coli results from small drinking water systems tested over a 3-year period in British Columbia were analyzed using life table analysis. Small drinking water systems that have a non-E. coli total coliform positive result have a slightly higher probability that a subsequent sample will contain E. coli compared to small drinking water systems with no prior total coliforms detected in the distribution system (relative risk = 2.04) This is of minor practical significance due in part to the low rate of E. coli-positive drinking water samples, reflected in the low absolute risk increase at 1 month after a non-E. coli total coliform test (1.6%). (Abstract)

Arsenic Contamination in the World (Posted 18/04/2013)
IWA has published an International Sourcebook which provides a global compendium of cited arsenic occurrences in the world as they affect public health. 82 countries have arsenic contaminateed drinking water supplies.The author has also written a comprehensive review article available to IWA members in the April 2013 edition of Water21 (details)

Nitrosamines in N American drinking water (Posted 18/04/2013)
WRF has awarded a research grant to American Water to determine the occurrence of nitrosamines in American drinking water systems The project will examine drinking water plants in the U.S. States and Canada to clarify the impact of various conventional and advanced treatment processes in minimizing the formation of nitrosamines. (details)

Drinking Water Quality in Member States (Posted 05/04/2013)
The EC has published a synthesis report on the quality of drinking water supplies in the European Union for 2005-7. This is the 5th report in a series since 1993 and includes, as a minimum, all individual supplies of water exceeding 1000 m3/day as an average or serving more than 5000 persons and covers three calendar years. The report says that compliance with the requirements of the Directive concerning information and reporting shows some significant disparities between member states and acknowledges that the data is incomplete. It says that,incomparability is due to amongst others various levels of compliance with the monitoring and reporting requirements, the lack of harmonized sampling and monitoring methods and the fact that not all Member States sample at the legal points of compliance. It comments that for the UK there was a sharp increase in non-compliant WSZs (Water Supply Zones) for the Coliform bacteria parameter from 5 WSZs in 2002-2004 to 117-144 WSZs in the 2005-2007 period. There was also an increase in the number of WSZs with non-compliance for iron, manganese and nitrite. (2005-7 synthesis report)

Control of Ps. aeruginosa in water systems (Posted 03/04/2013)
The Department of Health for England has published new consolidated guidance for healthcare providers, particularly in augmented care facilities, on the control of potential Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection associated with taps, and water systems in general (guidance document). This replaces earlier guidance issued in February 2012 (initial guidance). Parts of this document apply to any water systems in buildings not just hospitals.

Doing away with bacteria in water systems using copper and silver (Posted 03/04/2013)
An EC funded project (SILCO) has demonstrated that harmful bacteria can be removed from water sources through the addition of copper and silver ions. The project has developed an innovative monitoring device that senses the elimination process of complex bacterial communities known as biofilm and unsafe bacteria from drinking water systems. The prototype successfully killed legionella bacteria at a natural source spa in Slovakia, helping to alleviate public health concerns associated with the potential contamination of water sources. (Summary)

Electricity from water mains (Posted 25/03/2013)
Scottish Water has installed a turbine in a large water main near Falkirk. The turbine captures the energy which would otherwise be dissipated by a pressure-reducing valve, The first turbine of its kind in the UK, it is capable of generating enough green energy to power up to 150 homes. (Press release)

New Research projects on VOCs in drinking water to be funded by US Water Research Foundation (Posted 25/03/2013)
WRF, in conjunction with USEPA, is inviting proposals for 3 Research projects on Treatment and Removal of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). The projects are; (Details)

Fluoridation of drinking water benefits adults (Posted 14/03/2013)
The results of a study published online in the Journal of Dental Research, show that adults who spent more than 75 percent of their lifetime living in fluoridated communities had significantly less tooth decay (up to 30 percent less) when compared to adults who had lived less that 25 percent of their lifetime in such communities. (more). The report concludes that fluoridated drinking water prevents tooth decay for all adults regardless of age, and whether or not they consumed fluoridated water during childhood.

World's largest desalination plant planned (Posted 11/03/2013)
Plans are in hand to build the world's largest desalination plants with an output of 600,000 m3/d in Saudi Arabia.(Details)

Optimisation of Corrosion Control for Lead in Drinking Water Using Computational Modelling Techniques (Posted 05/03/2013)
This recent publication by IWA shows how compliance modelling has been used to very good effect in the optimisation of plumbosolvency control in the United Kingdom, particularly in the optimisation of orthophosphate dosing. Over 100 water supply systems have been modelled, involving 30% of the UK’s water companies. (Details)

Effects of Temperature and pH on Reduction of Bacteria in a Point-of-Use Drinking Water Treatment Product for Emergency Relief (Posted 05/03/2013)
A paper about to appear in Applied and Environmental Microbiology reeports on The effects of temperature and pH on the water treatment performance of a point-of-use (POU) coagulant/disinfectant product.. Cold temperatures (∼5C) reduced the bactericidal efficiency of the product with regard to Escherichia coli and total coliform log10 reductions. (Details)

Cylindrospermopsin: occurrence, methods of detection and toxicology. (Posted 26/02/2013)
A review has been published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology of current knowledge regarding this cyanobacterial toxin which is of growing interest. The only report described so far of human toxicity associated with CYN has been a hepatoenteritis incident in 1979, where 148 people were hospitalized from Palm Island off the coast of Australia.

Validating the cause of Coliform failures (Posted 12/02/2013)
A collaborative project between UKWIR and DWI on validating the cause of coliforms in drinking water in 2009 resulted in the production of guidance to water companies. It also recognised that there would be a benefit in the future to hold a workshop to provide an opportunity to review water company’s experiences with the guidance and for DWI to present their feedback on the situation. The workshop in March 2012 concluded that the introduction of the guidance has brought improvements in the success of investigations into the origin of coliform bacteria. The discussions and findings from the presentations and breakout sessions are being taken into consideration in the forthcoming UKWIR project “A forensic approach to understanding bacteriological infringements in the Water Network” (Summary report)

Impact of language and cognition on compliance during a natural disaster (Posted 12/02/2013)
DWI contributed to a Kings College project analysing responses to consumer notices advising on precautions with water use from both the Mythe flooding incident and the Pitsford cryptosporidium event, ensuring that representative results of different event types were used to help highlight the factors behind non compliance.The research explored how and why professionals and the public differentially understand and communicate about risks and their prevention. The report provides advice to water companies on ways to improve communications with consumers in high impact events. (Full report)

Health impacts from extreme events water shortages (Posted 12/02/2013)
Following a literature review and a workshop DWI, in conjunction with HPA, has published a report which concludes that there is little scientific evidence based information about the health impacts of water shortages during and after extreme events.

The report concluded that loss of water supply in conjunction with loss of power over time may create sanitation problems, so these events cannot be viewed only in terms of water quality. These impacts can be predicted in advance and planned for, in relation to alternate supply provision, advice to consumers and health surveillance.

(Full report)

Energy efficiency and carbon sensitive water management (Posted 06/02/2013)
A briefing report published by TRansitions to the Urban Water Services of Tomorrow (TRUST), an integrated research project funded by the European Union, concludes that demand reduction, through the reduction of waste and increasing water efficiency at the point of use offers savings of up to 10% by 2020 and at least 20% by 2050. Progressive improvements in the efficiency of conveyance and distribution should also be able to make a positive impact with improvements to motor and pumping efficiency within water treatment works reducing energy use by a further 10–45%. Other operational efficiency improvements have been shown to reduce the total energy consumption by up to 40% in some cases. Replacement of Greenhouse gas-intensive treatment processes, such as GAC filtration, has also saved up to 40% of emissions. However, the savings potential for the water supply sector probably falls short of the 80% emission reduction target for 2050. (summary)

Global risks (Posted 06/02/2013)
The World Economic Forum has published Global Risks 2013 based on the views of 1000 experts. It covers five sectors - Water Supply is identified as the highest Societal risk and second overall. It is ranked 4th in "Likelihood" and 2nd in "Impact". For every risk that has been identified the publication illustrates how that risk has changed since 2011. Whilst "Water supply crises" has reduced fractionally since then, it is still the highest Societal risk by some clear margin. The only risk that is ranked higher is within the Economic sector - "Major systemic financial failure".

Pathogenic amoebae in household water systems (Posted 01/02/2013)
A recent paper describes 2 fatalities in Louisiana from infections with Naegleria fowleri associated with the use of unboiled tap water for sinus irrigation. In one case Naegleria and other amoebae were isolated from an instantaneous water heater. There have been other reports of amoebic eye infections due to rinsing of contact lenses with tapwater. Although chloramination is effective against Naegleria household systems can be colonised where water is warm.