On the Importance of World Water Monitoring Day
Posted September 20, 2011
By Karen Pallansch
Karen Pallansch, General Manager, Alexandria Sanitation Authority, WEF President Jeanette Brown, Frances Lucraft of the International Water Association, and U.S. EPA’s Dr. Ellen Gilinsky were featured speakers at the September 19 World Water Monitoring Day celebration in Washington D.C. , where some 200 students gathered to monitor the Potomac River for core water quality parameters. Following are excerpts from Karen’s remarks.
Leonardo da Vinci said centuries ago, “Water is the driving source of all nature. “Water is life. It gives life. It sustains life. Our very brains and muscles are 70% water. Our blood is 92% water.
We’re surrounded by vast oceans that make up 97 percent of our water…but we can’t drink saltwater. In fact, less than one percent of all the freshwater on the earth is available for our consumption… we need freshwater to drink…to cook…to wash…and grow the food that sustains us.
Yet for too long, we saw freshwater as an endless resource that we could dip into and exploit without consequence. And for too long, our precious natural resource…not gold, not oil, not timber…but freshwater… was being debased.
Fortunately, there were people of vision who saw this trend was not sustainable and took action and built the first wastewater treatment facilities. And more than bricks and water and pipes and modern technology, I think of wastewater treatment as nature’s partner in cleaning water…but on a faster, larger, more efficient scale.
Monitoring our water…as we are doing today…tells us that our natural engineering is working and meeting the important goals and benchmarks we have set to improve the health and standards of living, for us and for generations to come.