Every day, Americans consume more than one billion glasses of tap water, the majority of which is provided by over 50,000 community water systems. Conventional water treatment transforms raw water into safe (finished) drinking water for pennies per gallon, thanks to widespread treatment, disinfection, and protection of water as it travels to your home. The
As we have done for the past several years, the WQ&HC highlights the United Nations’ (UN) World Water Day, which is held annually on March 22nd and affirms the importance of safe water in our lives. This year’s theme, “Water for All: Leaving No One Behind” is fundamentally tied to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6), “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” by 2030.
Safe drinking water is an essential human need. But the vast majority of the world’s water (e.g., seawater) is high in salinity (briny) and dissolved solids, and is unsuitable for drinking and most domestic uses. (Making it potable cannot be accomplished without extensive and costly treatment compared to conventional treatment of traditional freshwater supplies.) According to the United Nations, water scarcity already affects every continent, especially in (semi)arid and rapidly growing coastal areas. And it’s not just California: Freshwater scarcity is already or expected to be a statewide or regional problem in many inland states like Nevada, Montana, and my home state of Colorado.
As much of America endures a particularly cold winter—especially for those of us in the polar vortex-targeted tundra of northern Minnesota—our aging drinking water infrastructure is under tremendous pressure. Cold temperatures, snow, and ice can challenge large metropolitan water treatment facilities and privately-owned household wells alike. Fortunately, there are many proactive steps that experienced public water system operators, as well as savvy homeowners, can take each year before temperatures fall to help ensure that safe drinking water is available during even the coldest winter. That way, everyone can focus more on enjoying the wintry weather (and ice fishing) and less on responding to water-related crises.
It’s been over a year since we last wrote about New Zealand’s largest waterborne disease outbreak. In August 2016, following heavy winter rains, an estimated 5,500 of 14,000 residents of Havelock North fell ill, with potentially up to 4 deaths, after drinking intentionally untreated groundwater from a community well contaminated with Campylobacter bacteria. A farm
Flying while thirsty? Every year, millions of Americans travel on thousands of commercial airplanes visiting friends and family, taking well-deserved vacations, or conducting business. While many travelers are concerned about their checked baggage arriving, chances are few think about the quality and safety of the drinking water or ice on their flight. But according to
Conventional water treatment transforms raw water into finished drinking water that is biologically and chemically safe. We recently celebrated the 110th anniversary of U.S. drinking water chlorination, a disinfection technology that debuted in Jersey City in 1908 using a dry compound called “chloride of lime.” Today we more properly call it calcium hypochlorite. Calcium hypochlorite
Almost 1.7 million people, or 4.9% of the Canadian population, identify themselves as a member of one of Canada’s three distinct groups of Indigenous peoples and cultures—Inuit, First Nations, and Métis. Of these, the over 630 First Nation communities are the largest and comprise more than 50 distinct nations and languages. Management of drinking water quality for the First Nations is typically shared between individual communities and the Government of Canada. On reserves, Chiefs and Councils manage the day-to-day operations, including testing drinking water and issuing drinking water advisories. Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) provides funding for First Nation water facility design and construction, operations and maintenance, and training and certifying operators. ISC also advises and supports drinking water quality monitoring programs.
In early September, Hurricane Florence became the first major hurricane of the Atlantic hurricane season and wettest tropical cyclone recorded in the Carolinas. Just over a month later, Hurricane Michael hit the Florida Panhandle, dumping significant rainfall before doing the same in southern Georgia and in many of the Carolina counties already reeling from Florence.
Although lead has been banned in U.S. drinking water infrastructure since 1986, it is still present in older lead-soldered copper and cast iron lines serving schools and other buildings. Lead can also be present in some indoor plumbing, solder, and fixtures at older schools, including high-lead brass faucets and in some drinking water fountains. Since