When looking at lush landscapes filled with orchards and dairy farms, you may never imagine the tap water is undrinkable. Unfortunately, the people of Seville and Tooleville, California live with this every day.
Those lush orchards and dairy farms cause many of the drinking water problems in the area. Pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and animal waste lagoons seep into the groundwater supply, contaminating it for decades. Tulare County, home to Seville and Tooleville, is already impoverished and yet, its farmworker residents must spend their hard-earned money buying bottled water to cook, drink, brush teeth, shower, and wash clothes. The school even incorporates up to $500 per month into their budget on bottled water for students. The water is so contaminated, kids are told not to play in the water from the garden hose during hot summer months.
Because you can’t see or smell the contaminants, they are even more dangerous because anyone can accidentally ingest the tap water if they aren’t careful. There are several organizations in this area of California which work toward raising money for bottled water or for municipal water treatment systems. Currently, the state is budgeting approximately 4 million dollars for home filtration systems, both whole-house, and under-sink, for residents of these affected communities. The biggest pollutants of the water are arsenic, several pesticides, and nitrates, all of which can easily be removed by .5-1 micron filters.
Next time you’re traveling and you see a picturesque landscape, remember not all Americans truly have access to clean water. Check with the locals before refilling your bottle with water from a fountain, and if the water is contaminated, be sure to avoid ice in any of your beverages.