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Who Doesn't Like Clean Water? Imagine a Day Without It

Project Clean Lake aims to eliminate more than 4 billion gallons of raw sewage discharged annually into Lake Erie by 2036. (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration)
Project Clean Lake aims to eliminate more than 4 billion gallons of raw sewage discharged annually into Lake Erie by 2036. (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration)
September 15, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Today, more than 500 groups from around the country are launching a national campaign, Imagine a Day Without Water.

The campaign is designed to encourage all Americans to think about what water means to them, and consider the importance of the drinking water and wastewater systems in the country, especially in light of Ohio's problems with toxic algae and the water crisis in Flint, Mich.

Radhika Fox, CEO of the U.S. Water Alliance and director of the Value of Water Coalition, says the country's aging water infrastructure needs attention.

"Most Americans can take water for granted. They can turn on the tap and they have clean water; they can flush the toilet and not think about it anymore," says Fox. "But communities are increasingly facing a number of water challenges."

Water districts across the state are working to conserve, including the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District. Its "Project Clean Lake" program will consist of a network of seven tunnels, stretching more than 21 miles throughout the Cleveland area.

The sewer district hopes to eliminate an estimated 4.5 billion gallons of raw sewage discharged annually into Lake Erie by 2036.

Ohio has made tremendous gains around clean water, Fox says, pointing to the progress made following the 1969 fire on the Cuyahoga River.

"Because of the work of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, they have really reversed that course," she says. "We now have a river that is safe, clean, fishable and swimmable."

Fox notes that the average American uses 176 gallons of water per day. And leaky pipes cause the loss of more than 1.7 trillion gallons of drinking water every year.

The campaign includes an online petition to lawmakers, asking that they prioritize water issues.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH