“My sister and her family live in Toledo, Ohio, and I don’t know if you knew about this, but she went nearly three days without any useable tap water. My mom was texting me all about it and how she kept thinking about you and DIGDEEP.” –Tom Roof (Tom is a friend of our founder, George, and works closely with the DIGDEEP team)
The recent water crises in Toledo, Ohio, and here in Los Angeles, California, have left us wondering whether a future where our access to clean water is impeded, and our intake rationed, is that far off after all.
The toxin, microcystin, and an outdated water treatment plant were to blame for the fiasco that left Lake Erie (Ohio’s main source of municipal water) contaminated and half a million Toledo residents unable to use their tap water for nearly three days. Microcystin forms as a result of blue-green algae blooms that thrive under warm, wind and rainfall free, weather conditions. Phosphorus packed fertilizer run off feeds the blooms and viola, on is left peering at a neon pool of water that looks like something out of a Marvel movie. If ingested, microcystin has been known to cause stomach pain, vomiting, severe headaches, fever and abnormal liver function. Not a fun time! Adding charcoal to the contaminated water at local treatment facilities proved to be the short-term fix for this dilemma, thus lifting Toledo residents out of their “emergency state” and no longer needing to scramble for coveted bottled water. However, researchers warn that this may sadly be a mere PG preview of what’s to come. Though Lake Erie has suffered other algae blooms in the past, scientists argue that it’s becoming blatantly clear that over the past decade, the blooms have been steadily increasing. Congress and the local Ohio government are taking necessary steps to promote pollution/fertilizer runoff reduction and to update local water treatment facilities, but with climate change on the rise and heavy opposition from the Fertilizer Institute, it’s not going to be an easy battle. Interested in reading more about this issue? http://nyti.ms/1sn4BLg
It’s not only Ohio…
The burst water pipe that sent over 20 million gallons of water (during our severe drought, no less) flooding the streets of Westwood, Los Angeles, was an unfortunate reminder of the city’s long ignored, decrepit infrastructure. Built around 1910, LA’s water pipelines are clearly in desperate need of some tender love and care. Sadly, the latter comes with an extremely costly price tag. Shortly after the incident, city councilman, Paul Koretz, revealed the fact that replacing the deteriorating water lines would cost LA nearly $4 billion dollars and take about a decade to complete. This unappealing proposal has sent many a city leader dodging the issue and thus avoiding even placing the measure on a ballot in fear of alienating voters. What’s to be done? Much of this falls under the purview of mayor Garcetti. “He’s the Mr. Fix-It kind of mayor,” states UC San Diego political science professor, Steve Erie. “This is an opportunity for him…. The question is, what is he going to do?” We sincerely hope something effective and sooner rather than later! Thirsty for more information on this topic? http://lat.ms/1oCsMnh
How does this relate to DIGDEEP? One of our main goals is to raise water awareness- a resource we can no longer take for granted. All of us living here in the US are vulnerable to similar water crises. What would you do if you suddenly couldn’t use the water coming out of your tap, or you found your car flooded in a parking lot? What better way to prep for possible water shortages and learn the value of each drop then our 4Liter Challenge!? Join us this October and help be a force for global conservation and change. http://www.4literspartnerships.org/#vision