The Future of Water
Across the U.S., cities like Los Angeles and Toledo have experienced historic droughts and water-quality threats, placing the nation’s water supply in the headlines. Following three consecutive years of drought, California declared a drought emergency in January and called for Californians to voluntarily reduce their water use by 20 percent.
This year while under severe drought emergency, wildfire season hit new highs with a reported 5,066 wildfires, and costing at least $184.02 million for the year. While droughts strained the states water supply, infrastructure problems added new challenges. In July, the UCLA campus experienced a 90-year-old water main break that flooded 1,000 cars, and damaged six campus facilities, and 10 inches of water pooling the Pauley Pavillion. The water main break resulted in:
- water reaching heights of 30 feet in the air for about 3 ½ hours
- the equivalent to about 4% of the cities average daily total water use escaped
- an estimated 35,000 gallons a minute and 20 million gallons of water loss on campus
The same week, Toledo, Ohio declared a water emergency as its city water was unsafe to drink due to the toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie. The city’s 73-year-old water-treatment plant regularly manages water toxicity resulting from warm summer temperatures and agricultural runoff entering the lake that ignite the algae growth. To neutralize the toxins, it will cost the city $4.7 million, up $1.7 million from recent years for chemical water treatment.
Water is our most essential resource for life on earth, yet for many it is also the most undervalued. By 2025, an estimated 1.8 billion people will be living in areas with water scarcity and another two-thirds of the world’s population living will experience water-stress due to misuse, population growth and climate change.