Highlighting the Importance of Protecting and Conserving Water Resources

As Drinking Water Week continues, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) joins water professionals across North America in highlighting the importance of protecting and conserving water resources.

"Drinking Water Week reminds us of the essential role we each play in respecting and protecting our drinking water supplies," said Gary Zimmerman, AWWA executive director. "Periodic drought conditions, population shifts, and general increased demand on these supplies have caused many of us to rethink the way we approach our water supply."

Several years of drought across parts of the United States have strained water resources. In fact, in 2007, much of the Southeast, including North Carolina, Alabama and Georgia, reached the most severe category of drought assigned by climatologists, creating a situation so serious that some cities came dangerously close to running out of water.

In the United States alone, communities use approximately 40 billion gallons of tap water for everyday uses, such as drinking, cooking, and cleaning, fighting fires and supporting local economy. To meet increased demand, the water community is exploring new technologies to develop alternative sources of clean, drinkable water. This includes desalination, the removal of salt from ocean water or brackish water in underground aquifers. Communities also are exploring water reuse, which involves recycling wastewater that has been treated to improve its quality. This reclaimed water can be used for irrigation, wetland restoration, industrial washing and cooling, fire protection, geothermic energy production and car washing.

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