If Nothing Changes, It Will Happen Again: New Zealand’s Untreated Drinking Water

Just over a year ago, in August 2016, I wrote about how more than 5,000 of the 14,000 residents of Havelock North—a suburb of the City of Hastings on the North Island of New Zealand—became sickened after drinking untreated groundwater contaminated with Campylobacter bacteria, a common food- and waterborne disease-causing microorganism that is transmitted in the feces of


Stockholm Junior Water Prize Winners Propose Novel Approach to Expanding Safe Water Resources

Striving for a better world by 2030, countries around the globe are beginning to incorporate the new, ambitious UN Sustainable Development Goals into their national agendas. Among the 17 bold goals, which include ending poverty and hunger, is the goal of universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation. This goal was front and center at last week’s Stockholm


The Once and Future Water Fountain

In the years since we last wrote on this topic, drinking water fountains—a once ubiquitous feature of the U.S. public health landscape—continue to decline in diversity, maintenance and numbers.1 Yet because many people, including commuters, tourists and the homeless, often rely on fountains for (usually) free and safe municipal water, they should not be taken for granted.


Sticker Shock and the Nation’s Drinking Water Infrastructure Challenges

Over five years have passed since I wrote a 2-part series of articles titled “Pain at the Pipe.” Part 1 focused on why the US should respond to systemic drinking water infrastructure needs, while Part 2 addressed the consequences of failing to address those needs. Since then, drinking water infrastructure-related needs, as well as public


World Water Day 2017: Why Waste Water?

Every year on March 22, the world community celebrates World Water Day by highlighting a water-related theme. This year’s theme, “Why Waste Water?” is linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #6, to “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.” With a clever play on words, “Why Waste Water?” encourages


Chlorine Odors and Why Drinking Water Systems Change Disinfection Practices

Earlier this year, I wrote an article called “Smells Like Chlorine” that discussed the chemistry of odors that can arise from chlorine and other chlorine-based substances in drinking water and in poorly maintained swimming pools. Other WQ&HC articles have focused specifically on drinking water and chlorine smell, why some individuals are more sensitive than others,


Life is About Choices and their Inherent Risks, Here’s One: De-Iced Roads or Drinkable Water

Salting roads, highways and walkways in winter helps prevent injury and save lives by reducing the risk of accidents on icy surfaces. As with everything in life, however, there is no “free lunch.” Everything has a downside; sometimes we have to look for it. As I told my son years ago, when something is “free”


Indicators of Drinking Water Quality

Providing safe drinking water requires a multi-barrier approach that includes protecting source water from contamination, physically and/or chemically treating (including chlorine disinfection) the raw surface- and groundwater, and storing and delivering the treated water in a manner that prevents re-contamination. Every day, more than a billion glasses of tap water are consumed from over 150,000


Happy Holidays: A Year in the Life of the Blue Planet

As Perspectives readers gather with family and friends to celebrate the holidays, the Water Quality and Health Council invites you to share a mesmerizing time-lapse view of our home, the Blue Planet, from space. Hovering in a gravity-neutral zone between Earth and the sun, a million miles over the Blue Planet, the Deep Space Climate


Science, Technology, and the Future of America’s Drinking Water

Americans consume more than one billion glasses of tap water each day.1  As 2016 comes to a close and a new administration prepares to take over in January, there are over 150,000 public drinking water systems in the US.2  Of these, 50,000 are community water systems that supply water to the same population (over 300