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GET INVOLVED IN YOUR DRINKING WATER - Start During National Drinking Water Week, May 2- 8

Release Date: 5/3/1999
Contact Information: Bonnie J. Smith (215) 814-5543

PHILADELPHIA - One hundred years ago death from waterborne diseases such as typhoid and cholera was common in the United States. Now, 25 years after the Safe Drinking Water Act became law, Americans take for granted the clean, safe drinking water delivered to their homes.

"Safe clean water is the first line of defense for public health," said W. Michael McCabe, EPA regional administrator.

Recently, our region faced drought conditions. For many of us water conservation was mandatory. In spring and summer water use is usually twice what it is during other times of the year.

So, now’s the time to remember and test out those water conservation tips you heard a few months ago. For starters, check your indoor plumbing and outdoor garden hose for leaks. Adjust sprinklers to water only areas that need it, and water lawns and gardens only when needed. Cover your swimming pool to reduce evaporation. Experiment with soaker hoses and drip irrigation systems to avoid over watering and run-off.

The sage Benjamin Franklin said, "When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water." But since most of the earth is covered with water, what’s the big deal? Well smart as he was, Franklin probably understood that what we do on the land affects the water we drink. Only one percent of all the earth’s water is available for all human needs including drinking.

Governments, water suppliers and community organizations are taking steps to understand how sources of pollution and changing landscapes may harm drinking water supplies, now and for the future.

Household cleaners, fertilizers, leaking underground storage tanks, agricultural wastes, uncontrolled suburban development, run-off from streets and highways - - all can impact the quality and quantity of our drinking water.

This year, for the first time in many areas throughout the country, water suppliers will send customers a report on the quality of the drinking water they purchase. Think of it as a nutrition label on your kitchen faucet, divulging to you, the customer, everything in the water from low levels of lead and copper, to pesticides, disinfectants, and chemicals.

Knowing this about the river, stream and underground sources of their drinking water, consumers will be better positioned than ever before to make informed choices about the land-based activities that affect it.

Just like recycling went from a hobby to habit, once drinking water customers understand more about their source of drinking water, more citizens will get involved
tasting, testing, monitoring and protecting it.

Each citizen can take a step, or two, as stewards of our rich natural water resources. Remember, all the water that will ever be exists right now. Celebrate National Drinking Water Week - - get involved in what you drink.