School of Population and Global Health

Water quality

Globally and locally, potable water resources are becoming scarcer and scarcer, and pressure is therefore increasing to use drinking water of poorer quality.

Inevitably, the use of chemically and/or microbially impure drinking water carries a disease burden, and the setting of drinking water standards is therefore subject to the level of disease that the community is willing to accept.

For example, there is a zero tolerance for cholera outbreaks in Perth, but we accept a small (and ill understood) disease burden from the by-products of chlorination.

To make policy decisions about investment in drinking and recreational water quality, it is necessary to understand the relationship between water quality and disease burden. In this field, research arguably lags behind practice, and there are significant opportunities for multidisciplinary projects both to inform local resource management and to contribute to such knowledge internationally.

To better understand the relationship between water quality and disease burden, we are involved in the following projects:

  • birth defects and chlorination by-product exposure
  • wound infection from recycled water use on sports ovals
  • health effects of regular swimming pool use
  • gastrointestinal disease and use of domestic rain water tanks
  • validation of drinking water exposure assessment methodology

For more information, contact Assoc/Prof Angus Cook or Mr Brian Devine


School of Population and Global Health

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Last updated:
Friday, 10 June, 2016 4:10 PM