Report outlines recommendations to minimise AMR in water

Thursday, 12 October, 2023

Report outlines recommendations to minimise AMR in water

A new report reflects on the critical role of water in preventing a scenario where simple infections could become deadly again and certain surgeries might become too risky to perform.

The ‘Measuring, Managing, Mitigating: gaining a One Health perspective on removing antimicrobial residues from water’ white paper, by Shawview Consulting, provides recommendations to address the role of water in preventing scenarios where simple infections could become deadly again.

Antimicrobial contaminants stemming from healthcare facilities, domestic sewerage, agricultural activities and livestock run-off all have the potential to seep into natural waterways. Yet there is no national monitoring of antimicrobials in groundwater, urban stormwater or drinking water, the report said.

The document presents four thematic recommendations and includes actions it says should be undertaken such as:

  • The establishment of national standards defining maximum permissible levels of antimicrobials.
  • The development of monitoring systems to track antimicrobials in water systems.
  • The appointment of an AMR Emissary for Australia who would enhance awareness and promote action on AMR issues locally and internationally.

The recommendations and actions were formulated following discussions during a government and industry roundtable in Canberra earlier this year that brought together over 20 organisations from government, industry, academia and the not-for-profit sector including the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, CSIRO and Pfizer, among others.

Participant discussions focused on AMR and its presence in the environment, namely water systems, and the implications for human and animal health, the environment, and industry.

Professor Branwen Morgan, Lead of CIRO’s Minimising Antimicrobial Resistance Mission, one of the roundtable sponsors, said, “Water is a contributor to the spread of antimicrobial resistance as it contains a wide range of bacteria and contaminants that can accelerate the development and dissemination of AMR.”

“Sectors that use antimicrobials or deal with waste containing antimicrobials, may be inadvertently having a greater environmental impact than expected,” Morgan said.

The workshop was co-presented by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, CSIRO, CRC-SAAFE, the Australian Antimicrobial Resistance Network and Shawview Consulting.

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