Drinking Water Week
Each year, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and an alliance of organizations, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), sponsor Drinking Water Week to highlight the importance of tap water and the need to reinvest in our water infrastructure.
Tap water plays a critical role in the success of a society, from meeting the basic public health needs of providing safe drinking water — and adequate sanitation, to promoting dental health (through fluoridation) and supporting industrial, agricultural, medical, and recreational activities.
During the past century, many improvements in the health, prosperity, and longevity of the U.S. population can be attributed to improvements in water quality. One hundred years ago, life expectancy in the United States was only 47 years (now life expectancy is 78 years)! This short life span was partially due to sickness and death from diseases spread through drinking water, like typhoid fever. Though these diseases are still common in lesser developed countries, over the last century, treatment, disinfection, and the environmental regulation of water contaminants have made U.S. tap water one of the safest drinking water supplies in the world.
Despite the safety of our tap water, new challenges require us to continue to work to protect our water supply. A primary concern is the fact that our drinking water infrastructure, which includes the pipes that bring water to our homes, is aging (up to 100 years old in some cases!) and needs to be upgraded or replaced. Other challenges include climate change impacts on water availability and quality, chemical and toxin contamination of water sources, and the increasing need to reuse and recycle water.
Dates of Celebration and Additional Resources
May 5-11, 2013