The Safety of America's Drinking Water (cont.)

Woman drinking tap water

Natural disasters like drought and flooding, which are increasing due to climate change, add to the water supply issues surfacing around the United States. According to National Geographicarticle “Water in America: Is It Safe to Drink?” protection requires multiple approaches. They include preventing chemical spills, ensuring water treatment plants operate effectively, and protecting rivers, lakes, streams, wetlands, and aquifers.

Infrastructure issues add another element to water supply issues. TheAmerican Society of Civil Engineers 2013 Report Card for America's Infrastructure gave the nation’s water infrastructure a D grade for aging pipes. The American Water Works Association estimates there are 240,000 water-main breaks per year in the U.S. “The investment needed to bring America’s water works up to speed is estimated in the trillions of dollars,”National Geographicreports.

In 2015, nearly 21 million people relied on community water systems that violated health-based quality standards, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA Todayrecently reported. The research covered 17,900 community water systems from 1982 to 2015. The water quality was particularly poor in Oklahoma, Idaho, and Texas, where water systems had repeat violations.

“One major problem is that state enforcement agencies lack a systematic procedure to select systems for additional inspection and monitoring,” according to the article.

It’s time to reassess protection of our drinking water and prevent disasters that threaten our most basic need.