The U.S. Water and Wastewater Crisis – How Many Wake-up Calls Are Enough?
In February, much of Texas plunged into darkness when the state’s electricity grid failed due to extreme cold weather conditions. What started as a foreseeable blackout quickly became a life-threatening calamity. The frigid temperatures cracked pipes and froze wells. To escape the frigid cold, have drinking water, and flush toilets, Texans were forced to boil snow and icicles. The extreme weather conditions and lack of basic amenities resulted in several fatal cases of hypothermia, frostbite, and carbon monoxide poisoning.
More than 14 million people in Texas were affected, and lost access to clean water at the height of the crisis. At the beginning of March, there were still nearly 390,000 people who did not have water safe enough to drink in their homes
The real value of water
Valuing Water is the theme of the 29th World Water Day this year. Valuing Water and Enabling Change also happened to be the theme of the Annual Report of the World Economic Forum’s 2030 Water Resources Group (now hosted by the World Bank) last year.
Clearly, no one who ever had to go without a glass of water for a few hours on a hot summer day needs to be told how invaluable water is. In fact, we all know that water is essential for life itself. There is the truism water is life! So, why this emphasis on “valuing” water?
Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource
In his award-winning book WATER, Marq de Villiers provides an eye-opening account of how we are using, misusing, and abusing our planet’s most vital resource. Encompassing ecological, historical, and cultural perspectives, de Villiers reports from hot spots as diverse as China, Las Vegas, and the Middle East, where swelling populations and unchecked development have stressed fresh water supplies nearly beyond remedy. Political struggles for control of water rage around the globe, and rampant pollution daily poses dire ecological theats.