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Drinking Water Week -- May 4-10, 2008

Environmental Health

The U.S. has one of the safest public water supplies in the world and Drinking Water Week provides a good opportunity for appreciation of that fact.  Instead, most Americans probably take clean tap water for granted and rarely give it much thought -- except when they don't have it!  However, since less than 1% of the earth's water is suitable for drinking, it is increasingly important for everyone to do what they can to preserve a clean water supply. 

Take a moment to consider all that tap water delivers for us:

  • Public health protection -- Worldwide, three million people die every year from preventable waterborne disease.  Our water system allows us to drink from virtually any public tap with a high assurance of safety.
  • Fire protection -- A well maintained water system is critical in protecting our communities from the ever present threat of fire.
  • Support for the economy -- Businesses or housing developments do not succeed without a safe and sustainable water supply.
  • The overall quality of life in the U.S. -- Any measure of a successful society -- low mortality rates, economic diversity, productivity, and public safety -- is in some way related to access to safe water.

Individuals can do many things to help ensure the sustainability of a reliable water supply.

  • First and foremost, recognize what a valuable resource clean water is and take steps to protect and conserve it.
  • Be thoughtful in your use of water and don't waste it.
  • Ask yourself if bottled water is necessary and consider its negative environmental effects.
  • Do not flush unused medications down the toilet or sink.
  • Dispose of hazardous materials and pet waste properly.
  • Reduce or do not use pesticides and fertilizers on your lawn.
  • Do not water your lawn excessively.
  • Repair leaky faucets and pipes and install water-efficient appliances.
  • Run the dishwasher and washing machine fully loaded only.
  • Place rain barrels beneath your downspouts and plant a rain garden.
  • Become an informed advocate for clean water and set a good example.

Visit the following websites to learn more about the importance of preserving and conserving clean water:

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