Delivering safe water to the world
October 10, 2008

One of the things we often overlook in the United States is just how much of the world has little or no reliable access to safe, clean drinking water. While we tend to think about water-pollution control as a matter of environmentalism, it's really not about that: Clean water is first and foremost a public-health issue. As recently noted by a water economist, the United Nations has many goals for bringing clean water to the world -- particularly the poor -- but it's difficult to tell whether the money that they're spending will be used effectively, largely because safe water supplies aren't just a matter of having the right equipment (like pumps, chlorination systems, and sensors), but also of ensuring that capable people are involved in the process as well. That's why water-industry groups in the US work with the Water for People campaign, which pushes for a more comprehensive approach. That's also why it's important for American water professionals to communicate effectively with the public about the health and safety ramifications of what we do. We will be giving a presentation at the Fall Conference of the Nebraska AWWA next month on how water professionals need to learn to communicate with the public through the media.

October 2008
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last revised October 2008