The Cycle of Your Water   

Every element on Earth has a starting point, its origin. Whether water is traveling by rain or snow, it experiences a unique journey around the world. When trying to understand the process of how water reaches our faucets and its cleanliness, it is important to understand that the process can vary from state to state, even country to country. Although some countries retrieve water from similar sources such as rivers and reservoirs, the process to get clean water to homes can vary from there.

The journey of water in California: Water is provided through the Colorado River and the State Water Project for most of California as well as other western states such as Arizona, Nevada and Utah. Water can travel through canals, dams, pumping stations, reservoirs and other structures to get to your local community. For Your SoCal Tap Water customers, water flows through the Colorado River Aqueduct; this 242-mile-long channel connects the Colorado River to Southern California. From there water travels into the systems to allow water agencies and districts to gather water for safety and testing before sending the water to the faucets. The Drinking Water Operator Certification Program is one of many facilities that test and certify the quality of water to ensure water is safe to use and drink. While testing water, these facilities look for indicators of nitrate and volatile organic compounds, two chemicals that are dangerous if consumed at high levels. After completing this process, these facilities provide permission to water agencies and districts to publicly distribute clean water, safe for drinking.  

The journey of water in other countries: Water enters other countries in the same way water enters California, through rain or snow. Water sources, agencies, and programs then distribute and test the water for the community, but this process significantly varies from country to country. 

For example, in Ireland, approximately 80 percent of the country’s drinking water is gathered directly from rivers and lakes and the remaining 20 percent from springs according to an article published by The Irish Times. Ireland’s abundant and direct water resources starkly contrast with California’s complex importation methods of collecting water. Learn more about the journey of water in Ireland by visiting their interactive website From Cloud to Glass.

While some countries receive their water from a variety of sources and agencies with access to testing, others receive their water from a single source without testing. The distance and procedures for obtaining clean water can vary depending on the country’s resources and accessibility of fresh water sources.   

It is important to recognize the long and precise process California performs when providing clean and safe water to the homes of California residents. Together, let’s show our appreciation of this process by utilizing, conserving, and drinking tap water this new year. There are bountiful ways to demonstrate our appreciation for California’s water sources, agencies, and programs that provide us with clean water daily. One way to show your support is by opting for tap water instead of bottled water. Additionally, if you’re interested in learning more about local water procedures, consider visiting your water agencies and give them a special thank you for their dedication to providing reliable water. Clean water is an essential part of life, and we are thankful to those involved in the process.

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