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Opinion: Safe Drinking Water Must Be Part of Coronavirus Response Package

An extraordinary coalition representing over 500 California voices on water — from local water agencies to environmental justice and community-based organizations to agriculture to environmentalists to civil rights leaders like Dolores Huerta — have come together in this time of crisis with a simple message to our leaders.

Access to water must be included as part of the next major federal legislative package. We cannot expect to halt the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic without water for handwashing and basic sanitation.

New Survey Reveals American Concerns About Water

An educational organization called “The Water Main” has just released a sweeping new survey of American’s knowledge and concerns about water. I encourage you to browse the full report, but here’s some key findings to entice you.

Plumbing systems-stagnant water-Shutterstock-Coronavirus

Water Systems in Closed Buildings May Require Flushing and Testing

Plumbing systems in buildings closed or vacant for long periods may need to be flushed to safely remove stagnant water.

Water provided by the San Diego Water Authority and its 24 member agencies continues to meet all state and federal drinking water standards. But after water leaves the agencies’ distribution systems and enters private service connections, the water quality can deteriorate if water becomes stagnant.

Most commercial and industrial buildings have been partially occupied even during the COVID-19 shutdown, and HVAC and water systems continue to be maintained and operated even though many employees are working remotely. However, building owners and managers should take special care with plumbing systems in buildings that have been vacant or have had periods of low water use to protect the public and employees returning to work.

That’s because plumbing systems must be actively managed and maintained to prevent bacteria growth. Bacteria can flourish in pipes, fixtures and associated equipment (like fountains, cooling towers and HVAC systems) that aren’t used for several days. Schools, for example, commonly flush pipes before kids and teachers return from breaks.

Building owners should prepare plumbing systems

Water agencies and other organizations are providing public notice about plumbing safety; however, it is the responsibility of building owners and managers to address any related issues on their own properties.

Several steps are necessary to prepare inactive plumbing systems for building re-occupancy, and workers performing start-up tasks should wear PPE and receive appropriate training. The steps involve flushing the entire plumbing system with water and testing to ensure “residual chlorine” levels are within the safe range. Testing to ensure effective flushing is recommended; if testing reveals high levels of bacteria in the system, additional steps are needed.

8 Key Steps for Reopening Buildings

Develop a comprehensive water management program for your water system and all devices that use water. Guidance to help with this process is available from CDC and others.

  1. Develop a comprehensive water management program for your water system and all devices that use water. Guidance to help with this process is available from CDC and others.
  2. Ensure your water heater is properly maintained and the temperature is correctly set.
  3. Flush your water system.
  4. Clean all decorative water features, such as fountains.
  5. Ensure hot tubs/spas are safe for use.
  6. Ensure cooling towers are clean and well-maintained.
  7. Ensure safety equipment including fire sprinkler systems, eye wash stations, and safety showers are clean and well-maintained.
  8. Maintain your water system.

The CDC has more details about these recommendations.

Coronavirus: The Workers Keeping the Water Flowing

The way we use water is one of the many aspects of daily life that has changed in lockdown.

Commercial use may be down, but domestic use has increased.

With greater levels of hand washing, tea drinking and gardening, demand has risen “considerably,” according to David Murray, a field technician for the water network.

Mr. Murray has worked with water for 35 years and has seen how our recent usage has put pressure on the system.

How Much Water Do We Really Need to Drink?

Here’s some welcome news: Water can work wonders for your health.

The humble liquid comprises about 60% of our body weight and allows our internal organs to perform at their best. Water regulates our body temperature, keeps our joints lubricated and carries nutrients to our cells. Water also provides moisture to skin, ensuring a bright and radiant glow.

Sweetwater Authority is Raising Money to Help Provide Food for Families and Seniors Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Sweetwater Authority employees are lending a helping hand to their community by raising money to help provide food for families and seniors who have been impacted by coronavirus.

General Manager of Sweetwater Authority, Tish Berge, joined KUSI’s Paul Rudy on Good Morning San Diego to discuss the details of the fundraiser.

Opinion: Southern California Doesn’t Have Decades to Figure Out Water Recycling. We Need it Now

The great achievement of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is that few people ever give it much thought. You turn on the faucet and the water comes out. The stuff is reliably clean and safe, and always available.

Water Quality Issues, Safety Concerns are Significant Drags on Water Utility Customer Satisfaction

As the Environmental Protection Agency moves closer to implementing regulations for PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), commonly referred to as “forever chemicals,” in the U.S. drinking water supply, many Americans are “just saying no” to tap water. According to the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Water Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study released today, 25 percent of Americans say they never drink their tap water, setting the stage for a serious set of customer satisfaction challenges on the part of regional water utilities.

Americans Are Told to Wash Hands to Fight Coronavirus. But Some Don’t Trust the Tap

For the Chavez family and many others in California’s fertile San Joaquin Valley, bottled water is the toilet paper of their coronavirus pandemic — an everyday necessity that vanished from supermarket shelves.

New Poll Shows Voters Overwhelmingly Favor Investments Into Water/Wastewater Infrastructure

A new poll recently released by the Value of Water Campaign shows that 84% of American voters want state and federal leaders to invest in water infrastructure. The near-unanimous support amid the COVID-19 pandemic reveals that voters value water and want elected officials to prioritize investing in infrastructure — specifically, drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.

For the fifth year in a row, the Value of Water Campaign poll surveyed over 1,000 American voters for the annual Value of Water Index. The poll asked voters how the nation should solve infrastructural issues and which priorities it should meet. Support for water infrastructure investment cuts across demographic, political and geographic divisions.