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Water supply's future discussed at water tasting event

February 26, 2005|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Good, clean water is getting harder to find, and that was the message Friday at the seminar "Water: Our Legacy," which kicked off the 15th annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting at Coolfont Resort.

Guest speakers talked to a small audience about national and global issues concerning the availability of safe and dependable drinking water and how to protect its source.

In "A Journey in the History of Water," a video from Norway's Bergen University, it is predicted that "a wage of war will be fought over water in the 21st century."

Jill Klein Rone, producer of International Water Tasting, said that water usage is doubling every 20 years.

"We're running out of water," she said.

J. Scott Shipe of the American Water Works Association emphasized water conservation during his presentation.

It takes 40 gallons of water to wash a car and 30 gallons to hand-wash dishes, while a dishwasher uses 15 gallons of water, Shipe said. If you leave the water running while you shave or brush your teeth, you will use 15 gallons, he said.

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"Take shorter showers, run a full dishwasher only and shut off the water while you shave or brush your teeth," Shipe said.

Rick Eades, a geologist and educator from the Canaan Valley Institute in Davis, W.Va., said "we can't underrate the importance of those who keep our water safe." There are 2 billion gallons of water used every day in Chicago, "with a megadose of chlorine, too," he said. "There are byproducts of having to make water safe."

Eades said that mercury, lead and arsenic are emitted into the sky by burning fuel, and these byproducts fall back into the groundwater. In a recent fish tissue testing in West Virginia, 78 percent had unsafe levels of mercury.

"Mercury may be bad in fish, but arsenic may be worse," Eades said.

Eades said the best water with the least impact is rainwater. A rainwater collection system and groundwater protection is needed.

"We are a decade out of step in water treatment development, and we will have to pay for it," Eades said. "Water will cost more."

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