In many countries, the biggest source of water pollution today is agriculture, not cities or industry, while world-wide, the most common chemical contaminant found in groundwater aquifers is nitrate from farming, according to More People, More Food, Worse Water? A Global Review of Water Pollution from Agriculture. This new report was launched by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) at a conference in Tajikistan in June 2018.
Modern agriculture is responsible for the discharge of large quantities of agrochemicals, organic matter, sediments and saline trading into water bodies, the report says.
The agro-pollutants of greatest concern for human health are pathogens from livestock, pesticides, nitrates in groundwater, trace metallic elements and emerging pollutants, including antibiotics and antibiotic-resistant genes excreted by livestock.