May 5, 2015
MADISON -- Wisconsin communities enjoy safe drinking water and continue to make steady progress in improving drinking water quality, offering cause for celebration during National Drinking Water Week.
More than 95 percent of the state's public water systems meet all health-based standards and during the three year period from 2011 to 2013, municipal community water systems invested a total of $134.9 million in upgrades through the Safe Drinking Water Loan Program, a fund administered by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
"Clean water plays a fundamental role in human health and remains essential to a strong economy," said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. "In Wisconsin, we're fortunate to have abundant groundwater supplies and the continued reinvestment in municipal water systems ensures this water is delivered safely to the public from the tap."
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, many improvements in the health, prosperity and longevity of the U.S. population can be attributed to improvements in water quality. A century ago, the average life expectancy in the United States was 47 years compared with 78 years today and experts say a significant reduction in water borne diseases has contributed to the increased longevity.
Wisconsin is home to 11,400 public water systems--more than any other state--and from state fiscal years 2012 to 2014, DNR's Safe Drinking Water Loan Program provided funds for 93 projects statewide. DNR also conducted more than 2,200 engineering plan reviews for new facilities, wells, facility upgrades and other projects during the period. All the state's public water systems also get inspected regularly.
"Wisconsin's public water systems have the capacity and technology to safely deliver 1 ton of clean water, on average, to each house every day," said Steve Elmore, DNR's public water supply section chief. "Through regular monitoring, we know more about what's in our water than ever before and this allows us to adopt strategies that address emerging issues. In Wisconsin, we also make a point of sharing this information publicly--the results of water testing at all the state's public water systems are available online."
Consumers interested in learning more can search the DNR website, DNR.wi.gov, for "Wisconsin drinking water data" or check out our feature page with details about "our drinking water use." For more resources on National Drinking Water Week, May 3-9, visit the American Water Works Association (exit DNR).
To celebrate National Drinking Water Week, join DNR's drinking water and groundwater experts for an online chat at noon on Thursday, May 7. To participate, visit the DNR home page, DNR.wi.gov, and click on the graphic or search the phrase "Ask the Experts." You can also join the conversation via our Facebook page by clicking the "Ask the Experts Chat" tab at the top of the page.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Elmore, DNR public water supply section chief, 608-264-9246, Steve.Elmore@wisconsin.gov; Jennifer Sereno, DNR communications, 608-770-8084, Jennifer.Sereno@wisconsin.gov.