Jacobs Journal of Hydrology

Current Problems with Drinking-water Quality in Argentina

*Leda Giannuzzi
Department Of Hydrology, University Of La Plata, Argentina

*Corresponding Author:
Leda Giannuzzi
Department Of Hydrology, University Of La Plata, Argentina
Email:leda@biol.unlp.edu.ar

Published on: 2018-09-11

Abstract

The quality of drinking water is a powerful environmental determinant of human health, and biological and/or chemical pollution can, therefore, have profound repercussions on the latter. The present paper reviews the available literature on contaminated sources of surface and groundwater in different parts of Argentina, analyzes the origins of contamination and investigates the linkages between contaminated water and prevalent diseases in the affected areas. The analysis concentrates on the groundwater consumed by inhabitants of Greater Buenos Aires, the vast urban area surrounding the city of Buenos Aires; and the surface water of the Rio de la Plata that supplies drinking water to Greater Buenos Aires and nearby urban areas such as La Plata, Ensenada and Berisso. The paper also analyzes the problem of arsenic pollution in groundwater.

Keywords

Water Quality; Cyanobacteria; Cyanotoxins; Arsenic; Human Health

Introduction

Contaminated drinking water can seriously affect human health and measures taken to improve the quality of the water are therefore of crucial importance. Access to quality water and sanitation are two of the basic pillars of public health and count among the best indicators of improvements in the quality of human life. According to the 2010 population census in Argentina, 32.8 million of the country’s inhabitants (83%) have access to drinking water through the mains network and 19.4 million (49%) are connected to a wastewater disposal system, an increase of 4% and 6%, respectively, over figures from the 2001 census)[1]. There is a disparity in coverage in the different regions of the country: Over 95% of households in 6 areas (Buenos Aires city, the provinces of Chubut, Jujuy, San Luis, Santa Cruz and Tierra del Fuego) are connected to mains water but in a further 5 provinces (Buenos Aires, Chaco, Formosa, Misiones and Santiago del Estero), only 80% are connected. In terms of sewage disposal, the figures are highly unequal: in the patagonian provinces (Santa Cruz, Rio Negro, and Neuquén) and the city of Buenos Aires close to 80% or more of the population are connected to a wastewater system, whereas in the provinces of Misiones, Santiago del Estero, Chaco, San Juan and Formosa less than 30% are connected.