Wednesday, May 25, 2016

From Recreation and Commerce to Quality of Life – Water is Top of Mind

By: Gary Davis
Water is abundant in central Illinois, so we think about it frequently.  We appreciate the fact that it is plentiful, unless it is flooding our basements, overflowing the banks of the Illinois River or its tributaries, or surfacing through the ground due to a water main break. We enjoy boating in it, catching fish from it, swimming through it (even polar dives), ice skating on it, enjoying a cool glass of it, and are pleased it can be used to transport products efficiently to and from our area. Since water makes up nearly 70% of our body weight, 80% of our brain tissue, and 71% of our Earth’s surface (only 3.5% of that is freshwater), it is important that we keep water at the top of our mind.

The subject of water quality has gained significant attention recently – both nationally and locally – which reminds us not to take this natural resource for granted.

Water Quality Failure Example
The Flint, Michigan water quality issue involving elevated lead levels in their drinking water certainly raised our awareness of potential water quality issues that could impact our health. With improved treatment technologies and high-tech water sampling and analysis techniques, we would think these types of danger would be limited to our history books. Numerous regulations have been instituted to protect both our drinking and surface waters, but there are still opportunities where these safeguards can fail, as is the case with Flint’s water system.