Please note, this course was written in 2003/2004 therefore some of the information is now outdated.
Water is arguably the most important physical resource as it is the one that is essential to human survival. Understanding the global water cycle and how we use water is essential to planning a sustainable source of water for the future. In the UK
there are areas where water supplies are limited, shown by recent droughts. Globally, there are many areas that do not have enough water to support the current population adequately. Decisions will have to be made on the best way to use water
in a world where there is climate change. This free course, Understanding water quality, helps explain the options.
Course learning outcomes
After studying this course, you should be able to:
describe the chemical compositions of natural waters, and explain how and why these compositions vary
describe the main sources of water pollution, the main types of pollutant and how each type may be controlled
outline the extent of water pollution in the UK and in selected global locations
identify the criteria for drinking water acceptability in the EU, and outline the processes used to treat water for a public water supply
outline how sewage may be treated before discharge to the environment.
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Creative commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence.
However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These
materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions377 and our FAQs378.
Full copyright details can be found in the Acknowledgements section of each week.
For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.
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