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Food & Water Watch Trivializes Water Quality Challenges in Letter to Wall Street Journal

In a rebuttal to a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed that highlighted water companies’ superior drinking water quality record, Food & Water Watch (FWW) bizarrely downplayed and dismissed the idea that water quality violations are a challenge for utilities across the country.

“While they are not perfect, more than 90% of the nation’s public water systems have no health-based violations each year.”


Food & Water Watch

While FWW is stating a fact – it is true that, on average, more than 90% of the nation’s water systems do deliver safe drinking water – the group is thereby saying that they are satisfied with 10% of water systems in the United States delivering unsafe water.

When it comes to the quality of our nation’s drinking water, a 90% success rate is simply not good enough. How can FWW cite such a statistic and not follow it immediately with a clear statement that we must find a way for the systems delivering unhealthy water to do better?

As the authors of the largest, most comprehensive drinking water quality study ever conducted wrote in 2018, even a single-digit failure rate among water systems on drinking water quality can affect the lives of tens of millions of Americans.

“In 2015, 9% of community water systems in sample violated health-based water quality standards, affecting nearly 21 million people.”


Allaire, Wu, and Lall, “National trends in drinking water quality violations,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 

We shouldn’t be all that surprised that FWW downplays the fact that millions of Americans face water quality challenges every year. After all, this is the same group that calls Baltimore a great success despite the fact that the city has failed at nearly every facet of water utility management, including water quality.

Time and time again, like in Baltimore, FWW has shown it cares more about its anti-private ideology than it does about end results like the quality of the water delivered to customers. FWW can’t look past the philosophical fight long enough to see the real problems with drinking water quality happening every day.

FWW is wrong: pretty good is not good enough when it comes to drinking water.

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