Dr. Annette Johnson interview about the geogenic contamination of groundwater

Dr. Annette Johnson interview about the geogenic contamination of groundwater


Dr. Annette Johnson is a senior scientist at EAWAG. She was the coordinator of the Water Resource Quality ( WRQ ) project. This was an integrated project aimed at developing a generally applicable framework for the mitigation of geogenic contamination in groundwater used for drinking, in particular concerning arsenicand fluoride. They combined natural and social scientific expertise for the solution of a health problem that affects the 100s of millions of people worldwide. The mitigation framework developed by the WRQ team from Eawag will help decision-makers and water resource managers to identify contaminated regions and to provide feasible options to help reduce the effects of contamination. The global probability risk maps for arsenic, fluoride contamination can be found here http://bit.ly/1tFCKmv 

Our Water network research team met her at EAWAG and interviewed her about the problem of geogenic contamination, the WRQ project and about some of the major products developed through this interdisciplinary research project.

 Dr. Annette Johnson

Q1. Water quality related health hazards are often related to bacteria or the presence of fecal coliform in the water and geogenic contaminants are often neglected. Could you give us a brief introduction of some of the common geogenic contaminants and the health hazards caused by them?


Q2. What was the main focus of the Water Resource Quality (WRQ) project at EAWAG? How many people were involved in the project that is coordinated by you?

Q3. Could you explain to us some of the major deliverables of the project?

1. Global and regional maps of predicted arsenic and fluoride contamination FOR planners and donor agencies

2.  A handbook for practitioners on how to monitor for contamination, water alternatives or treatment options.

Q4. The global risk maps look very informative. How reliable are these maps? Are they supported with ground data?

Q5. Which were the critical regions affected by geogenic contamination in the world that are the particular focus of this project?

Q6.  Focusing now on fluoride, how come the people in some countries are affected more by fluoride problem than the others?

Q7. What is the guideline value for human intake of Fluoride? Is the tolerable intake different for adults and children?

Q8. What is the best way to manage the fluoride problem in developing countries? Can it be achieved by better management of water resources or through changes in lifestyle?

Q9. What are you planning for the future?

  1. We think awareness creation is very important

  2. The maps are a good aid to this

  3. We have also noticed that though information on water quality may be available it is often not shared

  4. We have therefore initiated the Groundwater Quality Assessment Platform (GAP) in association with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the WHO for users, national or regional government agencies to :

  1. View and download information

  2. Share data

  3. Do their own mapping and modeling

  4. Obtain information on water alternatives and treatment


Read More ​Interviews from ​the 'In ​Conversation ​With' ​Series ​
by The Water Network