Water Sanitation Health

Chemical hazards in drinking-water - potassium

Rolling revision of the WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality

Potassium is included in the plan of work of the rolling revision of the WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality. The background document and a summary statement for the 4th Edition are now available.


Potassium chloride water softener regeneration or mixed potassium/sodium chloride regeneration is being used as an alternative to sodium chloride water softener regeneration, as the perception is that potassium is better for health. However, some people with specific diseases or on certain medications are susceptible to hyperkalaemia, and some mention of this needs to be made. There is currently no background document or summary statement for potassium in the GDWQ.

Expected end-product(s)

New fact sheet and summary statement on potassium, for Fourth Edition.

Progress to date

The GDWQ WG meeting (Geneva, 2005) agreed on a plan of work. A briefing note on potassium was prepared for discussion by the GDWQ WG meeting (Geneva, 2006). It was agreed that a background document and summary statement should be prepared for publication in the second addendum. The GDWQ WG meeting (Berlin, 2007) agreed to push back the background document to the Fourth Edition. The GDWQ WG meeting (Singapore, 2008) agreed on a path forward towards publication of a brief fact sheet and summary statement for the Fourth Edition.