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Announcements: Drinking Water Week — May 6–12, 2012

The United States has one of the safest public drinking water supplies in the world (1). Tap water not only provides water for daily activities such as drinking, bathing, and cooking, it also benefits the entire community by providing water to serve businesses, schools, and hospitals, and to promote overall health (2). May 6–12, 2012, is Drinking Water Week, an annual observance whose theme, "Water: Celebrate the Essential," underscores the many services provided by public drinking water systems in the United States (3).

Disinfection and treatment practices, as well as the environmental regulation of water pollutants, have improved domestic water quality substantially during the past century and have led to a dramatic decrease in the incidence of waterborne diseases such as cholera and typhoid fever (4–6). Despite these improvements, sources of drinking water still can become contaminated, leading to adverse health effects (7).

New challenges to the U.S. water supply include an aging drinking water infrastructure, the impact of climate change on water availability and quality, chemical contamination of water sources, emerging pathogens, and the development of new ways to obtain and use water. Drinking Water Week is a time to highlight the importance of safe drinking water and recognize that protecting and reinvesting in water infrastructure is crucial to the health of persons living in the United States.

References

  1. US Environmental Protection Agency. Water on tap: what you need to know. Washington, DC: US Environmental Protection Agency; 2009. Available at http://water.epa.gov/drink/guide/upload/book_waterontap_full.pdf. Accessed April 24, 2012.
  2. CDC. Achievements in public health, 1900–1999: changes in the public health system. MMWR 1999;48:1141–7.
  3. American Water Works Association. Drinking Water Week 2012. Denver, CO: American Water Works Association; 2011. Available at http://www.awwa.org/government/content.cfm?itemnumber=44766&navitemnumber=3863. Accessed April 24, 2012.
  4. CDC. Achievements in public health, 1900–1999: safer and healthier foods. MMWR 1999;48:905–13.
  5. CDC. Summary of notifiable diseases—United States, 2009. MMWR 2011;58(53).
  6. Cutler D, Miller G. The role of public health improvements in health advances: the 20th century United States. Working paper 10511. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research; 2004. Available at http://www.nber.org/papers/w10511.pdf. Accessed April 24, 2012.
  7. US Environmental Protection Agency. Drinking water contaminants. Washington, DC: US Environmental Protection Agency; 2011. Available at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/contaminants/index.html. Accessed April 24, 2012.

Use of trade names and commercial sources is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

References to non-CDC sites on the Internet are provided as a service to MMWR readers and do not constitute or imply endorsement of these organizations or their programs by CDC or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. CDC is not responsible for the content of pages found at these sites. URL addresses listed in MMWR were current as of the date of publication.


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