Surface Water Abstractiom

Greg WillsonAbout 1 min

Surface water abstraction is the process of withdrawing water from rivers, lakes, and other surface water sources for use as drinking water. This method of water provision has been used for centuries and provides a valuable source of water for many communities around the world.

However, there are also a number of challenges and hazards associated with surface water abstraction, as well as opportunities for improving the management and protection of these sources.


Contamination: Surface water sources can become contaminated with pollutants, pathogens, and chemicals, making the water unsafe for human consumption. This can be a result of agricultural runoff, sewage discharge, industrial activities, or other sources of contamination.

Seasonal variability: Surface water sources can experience significant fluctuations in flow and quality over the course of the year, making it difficult to consistently provide a reliable source of drinking water.

Drought: In times of drought, surface water sources may become depleted, reducing the availability of water for abstraction.


Waterborne diseases: If surface water sources are contaminated, they can pose a risk to public health through the spread of waterborne diseases.

Algal blooms: In some cases, surface water sources can experience algal blooms, which can produce toxins that can be harmful to human health.


Improved management: By implementing best practices for surface water management, communities can improve the quality and reliability of surface water sources for drinking water.

Water treatment: Through the use of appropriate water treatment methods, such as filtration, chlorination, or UV treatment, communities can remove contaminants and pathogens from surface water sources, making the water safe for human consumption.

Historical use:

Ancient civilizations: Throughout history, surface water sources have been used as a source of drinking water, with many ancient civilizations building systems for abstracting and distributing water from rivers and lakes.

Modern water systems: Today, surface water abstraction continues to be a widely used method of providing drinking water, with many communities relying on large-scale water treatment plants to process and distribute surface water for human consumption.

In conclusion, surface water abstraction is a valuable and historical method of providing drinking water for communities, but it is important to be aware of the challenges and hazards associated with this approach. By implementing best practices for surface water management and using appropriate water treatment methods, communities can ensure that surface water sources remain a safe and reliable source of drinking water for future generations.