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What to Make of the Latest Article Warning of Scary Tap Water

As scary as tap can be in certain places, there even more reason to be concerned with bottled water.

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If we want clean drinking water, we’re going to have to hold government accountable for the comprehensive land use planning that’s needed to protect lakes, streams, rivers and underground aquifers from contaminated sites and polluted runoff. Duhigg’s article is a wake up call telling us to demand standards to cover the expanding list of new and emerging contaminants that threaten our water supplies and our health.  Sure, that’s more work than buying a bottle of water – but buying that bottle isn’t protecting your health; it’s helping destroy the environment and you’re paying for it with your hard earned dollars.

Looking to the future, there is a way to ensure adequate funding for publicly-owned drinking water systems. The proposed federal water trust fund would provide a permanent source of funding to modernize our antiquated water treatment systems and adapt them to ever changing technologies and emerging contaminants. In doing so, it would reduce financing costs and allow small municipal water systems to fend off privatization.

In the United States we are blessed to have fresh water that meets many of our needs. If we want to continue to enjoy all the benefits of that water, we have no choice but to take steps to protect and properly treat it. Otherwise we can keep our heads in the sand and wait for someone else to fix the problem. But hey, there’s water on the moon, right? I’ll start packing.

Robin Madel is a research associate at GRACE.

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