National Water Crisis
Article By Katelyn Dearborn
Edited By Emily Baker
Many of us are lucky enough to always have a constant flow of clean drinking water. It comes out of our faucets without a second thought. People can buy bottles of water on any city street corner, or take a sip from free water fountains. However, this convenience can’t be found everywhere, and it’s slowly getting harder to manage. According to Few Resources.org, by 2020 it’s estimated that 1.8 billion people will experience absolute water scarcity, meaning there will be little to no water resources to live off of and may be limited or hard to come by. They also say that in 2025, approximately 50 percent of the world will be experiencing severe water-stressed conditions. Even in the US today, there are people experiencing extreme water sanitation issues. And even though water is a basic need for all human beings and water scarcity is at the forefront of public health issues, most people agree that our government still isn’t doing enough to support it.
Most people in Martin County, Kentucky, have lived without clean water for the past 18 years after a coal slurry accident that affected the water supply on October 11, 2000. Some people still drink the disease-filled water, while others have been drinking and using bottled water to shower and wash their dishes. Hope Workman, a resident of Martin County, doesn't trust what comes out of her tap, so she hustles up a dirt path on the side of a mountain just to get drinking water. It takes her about seven minutes before she reaches a small plastic well tapped into the side of the mountain with a 3½-foot PVC pipe. "This is what we go through to get water, unfortunately," she said. Another resident, Gary Ball, editor-in-chief of the local weekly newspaper The Mountain Citizen, says, "In 2018, in the very place where LBJ declared war on poverty ... water is our number one issue. That's hard to imagine." Martin County has recently received federal grants of $3.4 million to go toward its water system, but experts say it would take around $13.5 million to $15 million to get the water back to normal.
Martin County is not the only place in America for that matter who struggles to get clean water. In Flint, Michigan, residents have been battling lead poisoning in their water since 2014. Recently, Republican Governor Rick Snyder just announced that on Friday the state would stop supplying free bottled water to Flint residents, saying water quality there had “tested below action levels of the federal Lead and Copper Rule for nearly two years.” But many residents and officials are criticizing the state for ending its bottled water distribution program as the city continues to recover from a lead-contaminated water crisis. Many citizens complain that while they’re paying taxes and still don’t have safe water, it’s the government’s responsibility to keep supplying these basic resources. The mayor, Karen Weaver, publicly states that the city is still recovering from the crisis and is far from stable. “We did not cause the man-made water disaster,” she says, “therefore adequate resources should continue being provided until the problem is fixed and all the lead and galvanized pipes have been replaced.”
These residents that go days without clean water still have hope for the future. Lately, President Trump proposed a plan to cover all infrastructure upgrades in the nation. But will the $1.5 trillion plan be enough? Some experts believe that it would cost the country $1 trillion just to maintain and meet the demands for drinking water for the next 25 years.
Many families suffer from contaminated water-related illnesses and fatalities and not just in the US alone. You can learn more information, facts, and help support this water crisis in places all over the world by donating to https://water.org