Assessing the water quality and status of water resources in urban and rural areas of Bhutan

Chathuranika, Imiya M., Sachinthanie, Erandi, Zam, Phub, Gunathilake, Miyuru B., Denkar, Denkar, Muttil, Nitin, Abeynayaka, Amila, Kantamaneni, Komali orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-3852-4374 and Rathnayake, Upaka (2023) Assessing the water quality and status of water resources in urban and rural areas of Bhutan. Journal of Hazardous Materials Advances, 12 . ISSN 2772-4166

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Access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation are important fundamental rights of people around the world to maintain good health. However, freshwater resources are threatened by many anthropogenic activities. Therefore, sustainable water supply is a challenge. Limited access to safe drinking water and unimproved sanitation facilities in some of its urban and rural areas are two of the major challenges for Bhutan in the 21st century. The water quality in the natural water systems in the cities and suburbs has significantly decreased while the urban infrastructure is being improved in Bhutan. Therefore, this study presents the state-of-the-art of water resources in Bhutan and the challenges for a sustainable water supply system. The current water status, drinking water sources and accessibility, factors affecting water quality degradation in urban and rural areas, water treatment methods, and implementation of sustainable drinking water accessibility with population growth in Bhutan are discussed in detail. Results of the review revealed that the water quality has deteriorated over the last decade and has a high challenge to provide safe water to some of the areas in Bhutan. Geographic changes, financial difficulties, urban expansion, and climate change are the reasons for the lack of safe drinking water accessibility for people in town areas. It is, therefore, recommended to have a comprehensive integrate water resources management (IWRM) approach while considering all stakeholders to find sustainable solutions for the challenges showcased in this paper.

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