IN A REGENT REPORT on water resources, it is estimated that at the present rate of increasing population growth and industrial use by the end of this century it will be necessary to withdraw from streams and ground sources one billion acre-feet or approximately 75% of stream flow. This represents a threefold increase over the proportion now used, and reflects population increase, greater urbanization with associated increases in water consumption, and increased industrial usage proportional to present trends. That this presents serious problems for the future is readily appreciated when one considers the enormous load of waste, both human and industrial, that these streams are presently carrying. Of the over 500,000 organic chemicals known and described, many are finding their way into streams and thus into our water supplies. Only a small fraction of those presently in water would be acceptable to the Food and Drug Administration as proper additives for food and beverages for human consumption. Although waterborne outbreaks of acute communicable disease traced to established municipal water supplies are rare at the present time, the possibly harmful effects of various chemical additives are much more difficult to determine and trace. This problem is likely to become considerably more severe, since it seems likely that the present rate of industrial development will continue and our water usage is expected to reach one thousand billion gallons of water per day within this century.
This Committee was provided an opportunity recently to review the present status of water pollution in this country with the staff of the Robert A. Taft Sanitary Engineering Center.
- Copyright © 1964 by the American Academy of Pediatrics