When I speak to communities about water quality issues, people often think the problem only happens in the developing world. Although America’s drinking water remains among the safest in the world, we are facing a serious and growing problem at home in the U.S.
It’s been estimated that nearly 4 million people could be consuming contaminated water. Aging infrastructure, the source degradation of drinking water, and the risk of unregulated contaminants are challenging our country’s water sector and pose serious health risks to public health and local economies.
I’ve experienced poor water quality in my own lifetime. I used to live near a designated Superfund site where 600 documented chemicals were discovered in the local groundwater. We were told not to drink our tap water and had to rely on alternative sources for our water. Twenty-three years and 2 billion dollars later, this particular site was reclaimed, but many of us learned first-hand what it was like to live without safe, affordable drinking water.
The recent story of Flint’s children being exposed to high levels of lead prompted me to advocate for underserved communities that need a better long-term solution. It is clear we need to increase awareness of these growing issues, so that both the private and public sectors can work together more efficiently to bring about faster change and sustainable solutions.
That’s why on UN World Water Day — March 22, 2017 — I’m partnering with the United Nations on Clean Water Here, a campaign to help people understand the nature and scope of the global water crisis by promoting safe drinking water here at home. We’re encouraging the public to use the hashtag #CleanWaterHere alongside celebrities, academics, and non-governmental organizations on UN World Water Day to show support for those who don’t have access to pure drinking water.
The Clean Water Here campaign will help inspire conversations around dinner tables, at work, and with loved ones about the need for safe drinking water for everyone. By driving the discussion, we’ll be increasing awareness and empowering communities to keep water quality top of mind.
Everyone needs access to affordable, safe drinking water, and when we come together, we can be heard — join the #CleanWaterHere movement today.
About Lani Dolifka
The co-founder of Clean Water Here, Lani is also president and CEO of Watermill Express, the largest drive-up pure drinking water and ice concept in the U.S., and a green alternative to single-serve bottled water.