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What is the Value of Drinking Water?
Proceedings of the 2020 Mississippi Water Resources Conference
Year: 2020 Authors: Barrett J.R.
There may be many perspectives on what is the true value of drinking water and how we quantify that value. One may feel there is no way to quantify the true value of water because it is essential to survive. On the other extreme, one may feel that water is free because you can find it in so many locations at little or no cost. Regardless of the perspectives that may exist, this project examines the realistic view of drinking water compared across the options in which people derive their drinking water. The three options that exist are community water systems, private wells, and bottled water. Community water systems are regulated at the state level by the Mississippi State Department of Health-Bureau of Public Water Supply with guidance from the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act. Private wells have very minimal regulatory oversight and are the complete responsibility of the well owner. Private well regulations are limited to the drilling codes enforced upon the well drillers. Bottled water is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Each of these options has its positives and its negatives. This study looks at the real costs to people of providing each of these options and the drawbacks from each option. The desire of the project is to inform citizens of the value of drinking water while considering the potential issues of private wells and the astronomical cost of bottled water.