Romanias food resources in line with developed countries, yet drinking water a problem

Romania’s food resources are in line with developed EU states, but the situation is highly different when it comes to resources of potable water, where Romania displays the poorest performance in Europe, as proves the Index of Sustainable Development (ISD), worked out by the Foundation for a Sustainable Society in partnership with Romanian authorities.
Food resources are the only indicator for which Romania was rated with a 10. However, the authors of the study admit that “most times, under-nutrition is caused by poverty and only rarely by the lack of sufficient food.” According to the latest available data for 2006, about 13.8% of the population was living below the poverty line, the poverty rate in rural areas being significantly higher than in urban areas.
Romania scored 5.7 – lowest in Europe – at the chapter Sufficient Drinking Water, as 43% of the population does not have access to safe sources of potable water. The World Health Organization defines access to safe sources of potable water as the “availability of at least 20 litres of drinking water per person and day on a maximum range of 1 km around the user’s home.”
In Romanian rural areas, only 33% of the inhabitants have access to public water supply networks and 67% of them get the necessary drinkable water from wells.
The authors of the study note that “Romania is set to double until 2015 the population with sustainable access to safe water sources.” The cited paper notes that at this indicator, all neighboring countries scored far higher, with Bulgaria and Hungary at the top of the ranking, with 9.9 each.
Romania scored lowest in Europe at the Surface Water Quality criterion – 2,9, which points to the existence of chronic pollution. According to the study, this the effect of industrial activity, but also of improper or illegal household or industrial waste dumps. Conversely, at the Use of Renewable Water Resources, Romania got one of the highest scores in Europe – 8.9.
The amount of drinking water distributed to Romanian consumers decreased by 4.6 million cubic metres in 2007 compared to 2006, down to some 1 billion cubic metres; household consumption accounts for 63% of this figure, reports the National Statistics Institute. Water loss was very high, almost 41% of the nationwide water consumption, and was caused mainly by highly worn out supply and distribution pipelines and by the moral and physical wear and tear of intake and pumping equipment.
In 2007, the homes of about 9.2 million inhabitants (42.6% of the total population) were connected to the sewage system, which is by 125,300 persons more than in 2006. More than half of the country’s population (57.4%) is not connected to the public sewage network.
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