For cities in America, a catastrophic water shortage could be only one disaster away. Ironically, some of the recent shortages were caused by flooding which took out water treatment plants that provide the clean water cities need.
Erik Olson, is the senior strategic director for health and food with the National Resources Defense Council.
“America’s water system relies on last century’s infrastructure that often can’t protect our health from hazardous contaminants,” Olson told CNN. “And our outdated system is completely unprepared for this century’s challenges of intense heat, drought and flooding.”
Aging infrastrucure of water systems built in the last century were only expected to have approximately a 75 year life span. Some cities such as St. Louis, are dealing with old lead pipes posing a health risk to residents, and too expensive to replace. In the west, before the recent tropical storm and record snowmelt of last winter, water sources were disappearing for whole states, due to "imaginary" climate change. Power outages can make water impossible to get even when available.
Jackson, Mississippi, is one of the cities at risk. In Jackson alone, it could cost $1 billion to $2 billion to repair the water system, and the water industry estimates that the total nationwide costs will top $1 trillion. "The 2021 infrastructure legislation signed by President Joe Biden includes about $30 billion for drinking water, and the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act another $550 million for water infrastructure."
For comparison, America has spent about 2.3 Trillion dollars in Afghanistan, making America "Safe." It seems the money spent there could have paid for all the infrastructure repairs in the US twice over, giving Americans ACTUAL security.
While there is still the same amount of water on earth as there has always been, except for a tiny amount lost to space, it is not always in the same place, accessible, or drinkable.