Climate Change Might Affect Drinking Water

Posted on July 14, 2014
Potomac River

Factors of global warming have recently influenced the movement of waterways, which could later lead to various problems with tap water. Rising air and water temperatures in combination with increased development has caused slower water speeds in usually fast-moving rivers. Officials fear that these changes reduce the river’s ability to flush pollution from the water in the area, which fosters the growth of algae.

The National Climate Assessment reports that air temperatures have risen about two degrees in the last 100 years. If global carbon emissions continue at their current rate, there will likely be a spread of longer heat waves and a further increase in average air temperatures. Surface water temperatures have been rising annually and are expected to increase by about three to four degrees in the near future.

These temperature increases have led to a new ecosystem that could force water treatment plants to change their filtration process, possibly leading to higher water bills for customers. Some of problematic scenarios for municipal water treatment plants could include longer blooming seasons for blue green algae, a decrease of eelgrass, and more runoff from farms and rainwater filled with contaminants and pollutants. Blue green algae is known for releasing toxins that cause liver tumors, neurological disorders, and even death in both animals and humans. Additionally, the algae absorb oxygen, which affects the odor, clarity and taste of the water.

Currently, municipal water treatment plants struggle to remove blue green algae’s naturally occurring compounds, which are noticeable at very low levels, through conventional methods. Although the treated water does not pose a health threat and is safe for cooking, laundry and bathing, many people find it unpalatable. Don’t take any chances when it comes your office water, switch to a Quench bottleless water cooler to ensure that your office has the cleanest water available.

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