I'm sure we all know at least one person that thinks water is water no matter what. You know, that one friend that picks on you about how you can taste the difference in various varieties of water. It's all clear, tasteless liquid right? Wrong. Not all water is created equal. With numerous location sources and methods, water extraction, filtration, and production are key factors in its quality.
Location may be the most important of these factors. Many countries around the world lack quality water that is readily accessible. 2.2 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services according to a World Health Organization report. 1.4 billion of those people lacked basic water services, meaning an improved water source located within a round trip of 30 minutes. Along with 144 million of them collecting untreated surface water from lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams.
That last statistic should be particularly alarming regarding the transmission of disease. Diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid, and polio have been linked to contaminated water and poor sanitation. You can see how this could be a huge problem when over half of the global population or 4.2 billion people lack safely managed sanitation services.
WaterAid's State of the World's Water 2018: The Water Gap reveals Papua New Guinea, Uganda, Niger, Mozambique, India, and Pakistan are among the countries where the largest number of people cannot get clean water within a half-hour round trip. While this is a terrible thing no matter where it happens, it may sink closer to home when you realize that there are even people in your home country that lack clean water access.
An article from Business Insider found eleven cities with the worst tap water in the United States including Pittsburg, Milwaukee, Flint, Newark, DC, Baltimore, Charleston, and more. The bulk of these cases were instances of lead-contaminated drinking water with Flint's scenario being one of the scariest. This heavy metal
In September 2018, at least 57 out of 86 Detroit public schools tested positive for elevated levels of copper or lead. Children exposed to lead can suffer from permanent brain damage, which often results in learning disabilities and increased violent behavior. Michigan congressman Dan Kildee has said that the city can't trust its water supply until all of the lead service pipes had been replaced. Flint is currently working to replace its old pipes by sometime in 2020.
Sadly, toxic levels of lead are not the only thing we have to worry about in our water supply. Residents in Brady Texas are worried about radium in their water, a radioactive substance that has been linked to bone cancer. This small city has radium levels 9 times higher than the EPA limit. Residents have also reported that tap water can be orange, brown, or even green, forcing many to drink bottled water instead.
While Baltimore Maryland's water samples show that it doesn't have as much lead as Newark or Detroit, but at least two dozen schools were found to have elevated levels of lead in their drinking water. This city's problems don't end there. Baltimore's Druid Lake reservoir is also clouded with particles that can carry viruses, bacteria, or parasites. The good news is, officials are now embarking on a $140 million project to bring the reservoir up to safety standards.
These are just a few of the many cases of contaminated drinking water around the world and across the United States that should serve as an example of why we need to focus more time and effort into making sure we have clean water for our families and future generations to come. Research your town or city and make sure the water is safe to drink. If you happen to live in an area where water is unsafe or you are unsure of its quality it might not be a bad idea to use bottled water for cooking and drinking. Water filtration devices are another great way to provide clean water for your family. These filters can be applied to sinks and showers to provide you with clean water for you and your loved ones. Just make sure that before you take your next drink you know What's In Your Water!