What Role Should Authorities Have In Maintaining A Clean And Adequate Water Supply?

3291 words - 14 pages

What role should authorities have in maintaining a clean and adequate water supply?
Sid Stallings, Jr.
Western Governors University

What role should authorities have in maintaining a clean and adequate water supply?
Water is essential for every living being on earth. It covers 70% of our planet, but only about 3% is fresh water. Of that 3%, 2/3 of it is frozen as glaciers, so only about 1% of the world’s water is actually usable for drinking, cleaning, and irrigating farmlands according to the World Wildlife Fund (Krchnak, 2014). Some populations, industries, and businesses are using up the limited supply of fresh water at an alarming rate for personal gain, leaving many without this ...view middle of the document...

Water is valuable and is essential to the systems and functions of life. Protecting the environment is essential to the viability and sustainability of communities because the environment is used to clean and store water, support plants that provide oxygen and food for animals and humans, and regulate ecological and biological systems for life to exist on this planet with the needed variety and diversity to survive the changing climate and political and social conditions. Several human factors affect the delicate balance of nature including overpopulation, pollution, industry, farming, and overuse (Leendertse & Harlin, 2008).
Changes in weather patterns are affecting farms in California where a quarter of the US food supply is grown, as drought has settled into the typically fertile growing regions for the past three years with no end in sight. Communities in southern California have to import 90% of their water because of the worst drought in over 1,200 years. This is not limited to one state or one country; the southwestern United States is experiencing this extreme water scarcity as reservoirs, rivers, and other water containment devices are drying up and not being replenished over the years with little rainfall. Water is imported or sewage water is cleaned to make enough to sustain the local communities for now, but unless changes are made, this cannot continue as it has because industry, farming, and population increase every year (Dumaine, 2014). It is not sustainable.
Scientists have noted that droughts have increased in length of time, severity, and land area in recent years to the point where there are increasingly more extreme weather conditions around the globe. This has caused some immediate impacts on the quality and quantity of water, but some long term effects are starting to be noticed also. Some say drought is adding to the water quality crisis. Utility companies must respond to the changing climate by planning ahead, having good communication with the communities they serve, and responding to and adapting as conditions change while continuing to provide the quality and quantity of water that consumers have come to expect and meet government regulations. To do this, they need to monitor water quality regularly and closely, have provisions in place that they can use to respond to emergency situations as they arise, such as improving technical knowledge and educating the public on the situation and how to deal with shortages or quality issues. Providing relevant information, making improvements in infrastructure, and being careful with this precious resource benefits everyone (Wright et al, 2014).
Harnessing the world’s major water supplies has allowed civilizations to develop and prosper, yet over-use of these sources is taking its toll. This is a major problem because it takes time to replenish the water supply and use is exceeding the ability of nature and water treatment plants to keep up with demand. It causes...

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