“Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth... these are one and the same fight. We must connect the dots between drinking water quality, global health, and climate change. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all.”
-- Ron Fleischli -- Water Program Director --
When we think about life on earth, what is the main component that other planets do not have in order to sustain life? Although there are many differences between earth and the other planets in the solar system, it is the presence of water on the earth’s surface that makes life possible. It has come to knowledge that water is one part of the building blocks of existence on earth. Mankind has discovered that water has many functions which benefit life. Water is a food source for flora and fauna, it is quoted as a “universal solvent,” and the human body relies on water to transport nutrients. Water also important for other properties: the Pacific Institute writes that “one drop of water contains 100 billion atoms, it can climb up surfaces against the force of gravity, and water exists as a solid, liquid, and gas” (Pacific Institute).
For almost all of earth’s life span, nature has gone untouched, allowing itself to create an environment suitable for life to thrive, but since the presence of man, that has changed dramatically. When man first began to build settlements, they realized that water was a major resource for drinking, irrigation, bathing, and provides protection from invaders, so most civilizations were built around water ways. This trend is still found in present day, but there is a significant difference between now and then. New advances in technology gave way to the Industrial Revolution (late 1880’s). With the industry boom, more pollution was created. For years, water ways were polluted by industrial wastes, the invention of the car brought more pollution due to car exhausts. With an already incredibly small percentage of water available to drink (about 1%), the issue of water quality came into focus. In the 1970’s, a “Green Revolution” raised concerns about the possible pollution of the drinking water supply. In 1972, the federal government adopted the Clean Water Act with its main goals being to “eliminate the discharge of pollutants, maintain the policy that protects the public from cancer-causing pollutants and other toxic poisons, maintain the concept that industry must use the best available technology to control pollution, and to provide an adequate funding for publicly owned treatment plans” (EPA). These goals were established for the sole purpose of keeping a close eye on the quality of America’s water. This Act was the first major step towards controlling the nation’s pollution problems with reference to water. The EPA set up 4 standards to water quality. They are as follows: “Designated uses of the water body, such as recreation, water supply, etc, water quality criteria to protect...