As you quench your thirst, consider the various processes your drinking water had to undertake before you can finally drink it.
Bear in mind also the water utilities infrastructure management challenges that water authorities are facing in the USA.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that the US has one of the most dependable and safest supplies of drinking water in the world, an essential part of an American daily life.
To protect the public and regulate the public water systems, Congress has enacted the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) since 1974, which requires EPA to enforce water system standards for public water systems.
Based on EPA, more than 151, 000 public water utilities provide most Americans with drinking water, thus the prospect for utility infrastructure management looks promising.
In contrast to the previous declaration of EPA, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reported that 77 million people spread across the US were served with some violations of the 2015 SDWA.
The maintenance of public water utility system is of major importance as it conveys the water we drink, which must be safe at all times.
The US has both centralized and decentralized approach in managing the water systems and could either be a public or private water system.
Environmental researcher Andrea Kopaskie mentioned in her study, “Public vs Private: A National Overview of Water Systems” the differences between public and private water system.
As defined, a public water system is run non-profit and is managed by the local or state government. Rates are set by the governing board.
On the other hand, the management of the water systems can go private where it is handled by investors or shareholders and is therefore controlled for-profit.
Rates are not subject to the regulation of the board though there is a public commission that is allowed to monitor the private firm.
Though water is cheap in the US now, water scarcity is foreseen.
With the decaying water infrastructure, there is mounting pressure to replace them to comply with the present water safety regulations and meet the increasing needs of the population.
Implementing water utilities infrastructure management strategies would enable authorities to optimize existing infrastructure and maximize their financial resources.
Kopaskie further shared the following in her study:
- 33 of 52 states and territories (including District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) have more public than private water systems;
- 50 of 52 states and territories (including District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) have a larger portion of their population served by public than private water systems.
Coping with the maintenance management of water utilities USA is becoming more and more challenging as the years go by. It makes one wonder, what lies ahead?
A growing popular resolution is to privatize the water utilities, which can mean major trade-offs. In the aspect of infrastructure management, privatization will affect service levels and water rates.
There should be a suitable privatization plan for the success of the implementation process. Critical and complicated issues must be resolved before signing contracts.
Government officials should be able to provide safeguards to protect the public interest in the privatization arrangement.
PHOTO CREDIT: Loren Kerns via Flickr Creative Commons License