Riverside, Calif. – This World Water Day, March 22, the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA) wants to remind its customers in the Santa Ana River Watershed (SARW) that the tap water that comes to their home is safe to drink.
“Billions of people around the world are still living without safe, clean drinking water,” said Mark Norton, SAWPA Water Resources & Planning Manager. “While a sustainable global solution is in development, we want to remind our customers that their water is safe and tested daily to ensure it meets the highest state and federal standards before it reaches them.”
The Santa Ana River Watershed, which stretches 75 miles from the San Bernardino Mountains to the Pacific Ocean in Orange County, is home to a large immigrant population. These immigrants come from countries where tap water is not safe to drink. Therefore, they still rely on boiling water, bottled water, water stores, and water vending machines.
Bottled water is tested less frequently than water from tap-water providers and is stored in plastic containers that can leach toxic chemicals. There are no testing standards for plastic bottles leaching toxins into the water or testing for possible bacteria that might form in water bottles.
Additionally, corner water stores are supposed to be monitored and regulated, but often inspections are not consistent, and the water quality can be unreliable. Customers’ water jugs and bottles used to collect water from stores and machines are often used multiple times, and may contain bacteria as well.
“Customers can also save money when they choose tap water; a gallon of tap water is less than .03 cents versus up to $2.50 for a gallon of bottled water,” continued Mark. “Spending more on bottled water doesn’t guarantee better quality. We recommend investing in a reusable water bottle to fill up with tap water or even use a home filter if you prefer the taste of filtered water.”
Avoiding tap water also has health risks as often water is substituted for sugary, high-calorie drinks, such as soda, juice, and sports drinks, which can lead to diabetes and obesity.
All tap water in Southern California and across the United States undergoes mandatory daily testing at certified laboratories to ensure it meets or exceeds standards. The Safe Drinking Water Act requires that public tap water providers conduct comprehensive water quality testing by certified laboratories as well as provide annual water quality reports to its customers.
Established in 1993 by the United Nations, International World Water Day is held annually on March 22 as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of fresh water resources.