On April 4, 2018, I attended the #WaterIsLife presentation. This was conducted by Dr. David E. Rivers, who is Commissioner and Vice Chairman of Charleston Water Systems. The main question discussed in this presentation was “is water quality a race-based issue?” I was very interested in attending this event because I wanted to see his perspective on this unique issue. Dr. Rivers first began by stating that he was elected to the Charleston Water System in 2003 and has been in it ever since. He said that he thought he could never run for a position because he’s not a politician. I found that this was very encouraging because not every elected position has to be filled by someone who is a politician.
He stated “Water is life, water is everything. You bathe in it, drink it, wash your car with it, and flush the toilet with it.” After, he began to talk about if he thought water was a race-based issue. He said that he does not think it is. I thought he would talk more about his opinion on it not being a race-based issue but he went into more detail about the Charleston Water System and how the major issue with water is it around the world.
He expressed that the U.S. has the best water system, but it is also very challenging. The United States Environmental Protection Agency, which is an agency of the U.S. federal government, was created in 1970. This agency has the goals of protecting human health and environment. In 1972, the clean water act set standards for contaminants located in our water. The Department of Health and Environment Control, also known as DHEC, implemented these standards.
Dr. Rivers also declared that there are also many serious water conditions around the world. 842,000 people die a year based on water quality or from the absence of water. 2,000 people die each day from lack of clean water. This is obviously a major issue around the world. Environmental justice also plays a key role because low-income communities have less access to water or they are provided with dirty water. People in other countries, specifically India, have to get their water from four or five miles away.
He discussed with the global water crisis, there is a fundamental water problem between Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. These states are fighting in the courts about water. He additionally brings up another serious issue which he states, “the most disturbing thing I’ve heard is in the last two weeks dealing with the homeland security report…warning us hackers mainly in Russia is looking at hacking our water plant and our power plants.” We are also spending thousands of dollars on fixing water pipes and we have to allocate resources to fix those problems.
This presentation was very interesting because it made me realize how much we really do use water and how precious it is. 2.1 billion people lack access to water every day. Water is a serious issue even though we have one of the safest water systems in the world. It can easily go a completely different direction if we do not pay attention to it. Without water, we would all die and we need to start focusing our efforts on conserving this precious resource. I am so thankful for the opportunity to hear Dr. Rivers present and I am so happy that I attended this presentation.
Thanks for reading!