Having accessibility to high-quality water is essential for the survival of humans. We all use water, not only for drinking but for other purposes such as cleaning, cooking, bathing, and so forth. We are constantly in contact with water, hence one must ensure that the water does not contain substances harmful to ones health.
The human body is 70% water. Water in other words is an essential component of all processes that take place within our system. Therefore, a component that is so significant must be safe, such that it does not harm ones health.
However, this is not the case. In a lot of areas, the water available to the public is contaminated; that is it has substances that can be of great harm to public health. Health risks due to the quality of water may , Water Borne diseases, Vector-Borne diseases, and Poisoning. (water quality and health)
Dirty water when accumulates in an area, is the start of numerous harmful diseases. This is usually what happens in slums, and the reason behind the death of many innocent people.
For instance, due to the immense increase in industrialization, most of the waste products are dumped into the seas and oceans for their convenience. This waste contains heavy metals, which can be fatal for the human body. If they make their way into the public drinking or cooking water supply, our health is immediately at great risk. Metals such as mercury and lead can destroy ones immune system, making one vulnerable to any diseases. Metals such as arsenic and cadmium can cause human poisoning. Not only this, if these metals are dumped into the sea, and go into the bodies of the fish we eat, we too will be indirect victims of the harmful effects. Already the quantity of water available in the world is decreasing as it is, polluting it just leaves us with no options. (water quality information).
Water-Borne diseases can be fatal for human health. If our drinking water or say the water we normally go swim in, is contaminated with pathogenic organisms, we can acquire certain diseases which may include: diarrhea, malaria, polio, dengue, typhoid, and many others. These can destroy human lives, and examples can be seen in areas with low water maintenance. (Water Borne Diseases).
Water quality and quantity concerns in the US
Water quality concerns can be found all over the world. In some areas, they are on a larger scale as compared to others. In the United States, let us look at a report from 2002. In that year 695, 540 miles of rivers and streams, or 19% of the nations approximately 3.7 million stream miles were assessed for their quality by the state. It was identified that 45% of it was contaminated, that is not suitable for its appropriate use, 55% was suitable for usage and 5% was heavily contaminated. In 2000 99% of all fish advisories were affected by toxic substances such as mercury lead and so on. Now, whoever had those fish had been at risk, hence, stating that there are quality concerns in the US. (water quality report 2002) (water quality facts)
As far as water quantity is concerned, the United States never really faced such a serious problem. However, more recently, with the increase in industrialization and urbanization, water shortage problems in certain areas have been identified. The state has established rights given to each area regarding their quantity limits; which is a good thing. (Water Quantity and policy)
If one compares these concerns with the developing countries, one will find stark differences. Since these countries have an increasing population, their resources are limited. Not only do they have a shortage of quality water, but even the contaminated water for cleaning and reuse is scarcely available. This is mainly because of industrialization and the race to develop their industries to fit into the world market. Then again there are natural causes such and drought which unfortunately strike some areas more than others.