May 09, 2001

Consumers: It's National Drinking Water Week

Consumer Confidence Reports Set the Record Straight on Tap Water Quality, Supply

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) encouraged consumers interested in learning more about their drinking water to use the most expansive, affordable resource available to them: their local water utility. AWWA made its recommendation as part of its commemoration of National Drinking Water Week.

"Water utilities are dedicated to providing their communities with a safe supply of drinking water and all the information their customers may want about it," Hoffbuhr. "No one is better equipped to help consumers learn more about their drinking water than those who work every day to ensure it is available."

Although an overwhelming majority of Americans believe their drinking water is of good quality, concern lingers among some about their tap water quality. For those consumers, the best place to get answers is their local utility. Utilities across the nation regularly test, treat and record their water quality. Every July, utilities make all of this information available to consumers free of charge by distributing water quality reports, known as Consumer Confidence Reports. This report lets consumers know first-hand where their water comes from, who is responsible for degrading its quality, and what treatments the utility employs to make it fit to drink.

Some important facts to remember about our water supply:

*Only 1 percent of the Earth's water is fresh water available to humans. (97 percent of the Earth's water is salt water, 2 percent is frozen)
*The U.S. has access to less than 1/20th of 1 percent of the world's fresh water.
*The U.S. withdraws more water from its resources than any other nation.
*Americans tap into those resources for about 370 billion gallons of water daily.
*Only 1 percent of the water withdrawn by the U.S. is used for drinking water.
*American water utilities spend approximately $22 billion annually to make tap water fit to drink.