America’s Water Infrastructure: Leaking into the Future

In order to appreciate the challenges of water purification, it is important to understand the history of water treatment. The following link: The History of Water Treatment has a very nice summary of the

“significant historical events forming the basis for today’s water treatment systems – dating back to 2000 BC where its use is first mentioned in ancient Greek and India. [While] the Middle Ages were also the Dark Ages for water treatment, it was in 1804 that the first actual municipal water treatment plant designed by Robert Thom, was built in Scotland.”

While this history is important, a recent Standard and Poor’s Report puts the state of health of the municipal water systems in the United States into proper perspective. The state of health is not good – especially since freshwater reserves are under stress and will continue to worsen as climate change affects rainfall patterns and snow melt around the world.

How big is this challenge?

The report claims that the U.S. has 52,873 community [water] systems, according to the EPA…[and that these] water systems will need to spend about $335 billion over the next two decades to comply with [EPA] regulations.

The summary of this report: US Water Systems Face Repair Needs also identifies which water systems face the gravest challenges.

This is yet another example of the future challenges that climate change, rising populations and degraded/depleted freshwater reserves will impose on virtually every country – especially those with aging infrastructures.



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