Drinking Water Week May 7 - 13

Every year the American Water Works Association along with a number of other groups including the CDC and EPA sponsor Drinking Water Week to bring attention to the importance of tap water and protecting our water infrastructure.

Tap water is critical to a successful society – from meeting basic public health needs of safe drinking water and adequate sanitation, to promoting dental health (through fluoridation) and supporting industrial, agricultural, medical, and recreational activities. The health, prosperity and longevity of the U.S. population have all made improvements during the past century which can all be directly attributed to improvements in our water quality.
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One hundred years ago, the life expectancy in the United States was only 47 years – now it is 78 years!  This shorter life span was due partially to sickness and death from diseases spread through poor drinking water.  Over the last century, due to treatment, disinfection and the environmental regulation of water contaminants, tap water in the U.S. is one of the safest drinking water supplies in the world.

Our new challenge going forward is to protect our water supply. A growing concern is the fact that our drinking water infrastructure (which includes the pipes that bring water to our homes) is aging.  It is up to 100 years old in some cases!  This infrastructure needs to be upgraded or replaced.  Other things that impact our water supply’s availability and quality are chemical and toxin contamination of our water sources, and the increasing need to reuse and recycle water.

We can all do our part through personal water conservation and pollution control and encouraging our Senate and Congress to continue to push for legislation which protects this precious resource.

A Few Facts About Water You Probably Didn’t Know

On the planet Earth, there are about 1.5 billion cubic kilometers of water – that’s 1.5 billion trillion liters, or 800 trillion Olympic swimming pools.  If the Earth’s water was evenly spread over its surface, it would have a depth of 3,700 meters.  97% of the Earth’s water is salty, 2.1% is locked up in polar ice caps, and less than 1% is available as fresh water.

The human body is between 60% and 70% water – this changes at different times of your life.  A human fetus is around 95% water for the first few months in the womb, reducing to 77% water at birth.  In a 154 pound adult, there are 42 liters of water.  Two-thirds of that water is within your cells.  Each human drinks around 1000 liters of water a year.

Some other things to ponder:

    • A five minute shower uses 200 liters of water.
    • We use 8 liters of water to flush a toilet.
    • To produce the coffee beans for one cup of coffee, it takes 200 liters of water.
    • To produce 2.2 lbs of beef, it takes 15,000 liters of water.
    • It takes 100 liters of water to make 2 slices of bread.
    • In the process of making one pint of beer, it takes 150 liters of water.

Water is a precious commodity.  Without water, life cannot exist.  We all need to do our part to conserve and preserve this precious resource.