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Water, Water Everywhere


Water is life.  Without fresh water we and countless of other species could not exist.  The amount of fresh water in the world is only 2.5% of the total amount of water found on this planet.  I’ve listed below a graphic from flowingdata.com that illustrates the water equation quite eloquently. Of that .08% highlighted in the graphic of what is actually made available to us for drinking, worldwide, I wondered what percentage of water found in the U.S. is drinkable?  There was a recent news report that China has stated that only 46% of their fresh water found in lakes, aquifers, and rivers was suitable for human use.  The Chinese report focused on water for drinking, bathing, and industry use.  The balance was too polluted for even industrial use.  The U.S. has an enviable fresh water supply, compared to other countries.  The largest fresh water supply, outside of artic ice caps, can be found in the Great Lakes.  The Great Lakes represents 84% of this nation’s fresh water supply.  Ten percent of the U.S. population lives around the Great Lakes, and 30% of our industrial base calls the Great Lakes home.  One of the world’s largest fresh water aquifers resides in the U.S., and is found under the National Pinelands Forest Preserve in the state of New Jersey.  The U.S. has one of the most extensive river systems found in the world.  But, despite all of these pluses, finding out just how drinkable our water is has been a difficult proposition.  There are countless of articles out there discussing the aging infrastructure of our drinkable water system.  The majority of the U.S. infrastructure was built in the 20th century, and in certain areas needs to be upgraded.  The population in the U.S. keeps growing, placing further demands on our water supplies.  Global warming is impacting the seasonal changes, creating longer droughts, and fluxuations in storm patterns that have produced flooding.  I have been unable to ascertain a national picture on the health of our water supply, but I do know that local government supplies a health report card on the water that comes out of your tap.  There’s a lot of water out there, unfortunately securing safe water for human consumption’s growing demands will continue to be difficult.


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