A New Approach to Saving Water

The international day of observance is meant to bring light to water issues, but given the growing threat of droughts, floods, crumbling and toxic infrastructure, and rising sea levels, is water really receiving the attention it deserves?
Mar 22, 2016 6:00 AM ET

The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development created World Water Day in 1992 in an effort to set aside one day each year during which we recognize water quality and quantity issues. 

The day reminds us to celebrate the small victories—that modern infrastructure enables girls around the globe to attend school rather than spending their days collecting water from the river; that water enables us to have abundant food and thriving industry; and that more people than ever before, even in the most faraway places, have access to the gift of safe, clean drinking water. 

But it is also a day to recognize our profound water challenges and to acknowledge that the road ahead is still long and arduous.  From the emergency drought conditions in California to the flooding in the Southeast to poisonous water in Flint, we’ve certainly seen firsthand how water tribulations can negatively impact lives and livelihoods. 

A USA Today Network investigation just identified “almost 2,000 water systems spanning all 50 states where testing has shown excessive levels of lead contamination over the past four years. The water systems, which reported lead levels exceeding Environmental Protection Agency standards, collectively supply water to 6 million people.”  And the terrifying reality is that these statistics are just the tip of the (quickly melting) iceberg. 

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