Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects to economic, environmental and societal issues. Our student Christopher Wren makes this connection in Paris, France. This current event was reported in The Local, on February 26,2014 under the title, “Tap water ‘polluted’ for 1.5 million in France“, by Joshua Melvin. A study supporting this information was published in Wiley Online Library and can be found at here.

Although clean drinking water is a staple for healthy living, it is becoming increasingly harder to supply even in well developed countries such as France. A large portion of the water supplied in France comes from aquifers beneath the ground surface. The over use of pesticides and fertilizers in agricultural regions around Paris have allowed these substances to leach into the groundwater supply. Also worth noting is the presence of natural, yet harmful substance, Selenium. Selenium contamination occurs when the ground water supply is drawn too low from over use. This problem stems from two issues related to WRE, water supply, and water treatment. Issues like these are far too common in the Water Resource Engineering field. As more cases are uncovered, the need for WRE is clear. This article did not however address any plans of action to address this issue.

Figure1. Spraying pesticides as seen here lead to groundwater contamination.

The rural agricultural region surrounding Paris is experiencing the worst water quality. The heavily populated city of Paris relies on these agricultural lands to provide food for the city. The lack of clean drinking water in these areas can lead to economic, environmental and societal issues for Paris. The contamination within the groundwater supply could spread to surface water and affect the local ecosystem. From and economic standpoint, France will need to spend more money for sufficient water treatment for the areas in need. However, the most immediate impact is the danger associated with drinking contaminated tap water. 1.48 million people who are drinking the contaminated water are at risk of health issues. More information on these risks can be found in the EPA’s report, “Nitrate and Pesticides in Ground Water” which can be accessed at this website.


“Tap Water ‘Polluted’ For 1.5 Million In France”. Thelocal.fr. N.p., 2017. Web. 28 Mar. 2017. https://www.thelocal.fr/20140226/15-million-french

Tournebize, J., Gramaglia, C., Birmant, F., Bouarfa, S., Chaumont, C. and Vincent, B. (2012), CO-DESIGN OF CONSTRUCTED WETLANDS TO MITIGATE PESTICIDE POLLUTION IN A DRAINED CATCH-BASIN: A SOLUTION TO IMPROVE GROUNDWATER QUALITY. Irrig. and Drain., 61: 75–86. doi:10.1002/ird.1655

“EPA’s Report On The Environment | US Environmental Protection Agency”. Cfpub.epa.gov. N.p., 2017. Web. 29 Mar. 2017.