Water Industry News

Need For Clean Water Access In US Highlighted By Covid

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen many areas of our lives thrown into sharp relief and in the US, one element that has received particular attention in the past 12 months is the issue of a lack of access to clean water.


Wired has revealed that an estimated two million people in the US lack access to running water, indoor plumbing or wastewater treatment in their properties. Given that the main advice to help combat the spread of covid-19 has been to wash our hands, it’s clear that this is a serious problem.


In addition, the news provider revealed that in 2017 more than 12 per cent of US households couldn’t afford their water bills.


This number was predicted to triple by 2022, while it also highlighted that there are certain demographics who are more likely to lack access to clean running water than others. Native American households, for example, are 19 times more likely to lack indoor plumbing than white households.


Although the disparity is less when it comes to Latino and black households, they are twice as likely as white households to lack indoor plumbing.


In some places, people are unable to use their tap water because it is contaminated, which has become an even greater issue during the pandemic due to the shortages of bottled water that the country has experienced, as well as the likes of launderettes being closed for extended periods of time during lockdowns.


Mary Grant, director of the Public Water for All campaign at Food and Water Watch, a non-profit organisation, told the publication that access to clean water is a basic human right that is “necessary to live a life with dignity”.


“The pandemic is emphasising the importance of water for public health and how crucial it is to protect it, and that it goes beyond the pandemic,” she asserted.


However, with the pandemic throwing the issue into the spotlight, it seems that the US could finally see its water infrastructure receiving the upgrade it so clearly needs.


The publication noted that the Drinking and Wastewater Infrastructure Act, S.914 passed in the senate by 89 votes to two at the end of April. This bill will lead to a $35 billion investment in upgrading the US’ water infrastructure over the next five years and appears to enjoy bipartisan support.


The Independent recently highlighted the water treatment plant in New Orleans as a classic example of the kind of infrastructure that is long overdue an upgrade. The newspaper noted that this facility was hailed as utilising state-of-the-art engineering when it was opened a century ago.


Those living in the city are used to receiving “boil water” advisory notices because when the water pressure in the fragile system drops for too long, there is a risk of bacteria making its way out of the pipes in the water purification system.


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