What Impact Is The Pandemic Having On US Water Supplies?
The global pandemic has really served to shine a light on just how critical access to clean and fresh water sources actually is – and yet there are millions of people around the world who currently lack the access to proper water and sanitation infrastructure.
You might well think that this is an issue that only affects developing countries, but that couldn’t be further from the case – and the US, one of the global superpowers, also suffers in this regard, with around two million people lacking access to wastewater treatment, indoor plumbing or running water, Wired reports.
Mary Grant, director of the Public Water for All campaign at non-profit organisation Food and Water Watch, explained that the pandemic has emphasised just how important water is for public health – and just how essential it is that resources are property protected, an issue that extends beyond the covid-19 crisis.
“It’s about flushing toilets, washing hands, cooking food, washing clothes. It should be fundamental that everyone has access to water. It’s a basic human right and it’s necessary to live a life with dignity,” she went on to say.
Work is being done to address the situation, however, with the introduction of the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act, which will see £24.6 billion made available to deliver infrastructure upgrades over the next five years.
The bill is necessary because federal investments in water systems haven’t kept pace with a rise in US drinking water and sanitation standards. Investment in infrastructure reached its peak in 1977, declining ever since – which has led to broken and leaking pipes that then leach contaminants into the taps.
The amendment to the Act will see states provided with federal funding for locally managed projects to address the inequities revealed by the pandemic – including increasing the minimum amount of money allocated for disadvantaged communities.
Recent research from RTI found that scientists now need to plan for and evaluate what-if scenarios that look beyond their previous experience where water, food and energy systems are concerned.
Adaptations such as policy changes, new management strategies and technological solutions are all essential to ensure that resources are safe, sufficient and allocated fairly based on changing demand.
It was concluded that the coronavirus crisis is, indeed, a wakeup call to us all that how we interact with nature will affect the chances of another pandemic, as well as the fact that the natural sources required for human wellbeing are vulnerable to the impacts of a global health crisis such as covid-19.
As such, a holistic view of the overall situation is essential in order to improve resource management and energy efficiency, driving this through infrastructure adaptation, technological innovation and behavioural change.
Do you want to find out more about sustainable water development? Get in touch with the team here at H2o Building Services today.