Publications

- October 1, 2016: Vol. 9 Number 9

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Water, the next frontier: drought, failing infrastructure and population growth test water management systems

by Salika Khizer

When I first learned of the lead poisoning in Flint, Mich., tap water, my first reaction was mortification and paranoia. If it could happen in Flint, it could happen anywhere!

Never again, I told myself, will I order tap water at a restaurant; the extra $3.50 is worth avoiding the risk of lead poisoning.

And if I am having those thoughts, think how many other people are, too, and that’s a problem not only because of the real risk of lead in the water, but also the lost peace of mind in a place — home — that should be a refuge of comfort.

Even though I live in California and we’ve been in a drought for what feels like decades, I can believe that what happened in Flint might just happen in sunny California. In fact, a few communities in the state have run out of water; pumps are literally scraping the bottom of the “barrel” — the reservoirs and aquifers that supply their water — and what comes out of some taps is filthy and muddy.

The need f

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