Water...the Fabric of Life

From the Sun Belt to the Deep South, U.S. cities are straining to maintain their freshwater supplies. Steady population growth and a historic drought have pushed reservoirs in some Southeastern cities to within a few weeks of running dry. The states of Alabama, Florida and Georgia have been embroiled in what the media has referred to as a “Water War,” with state governments and federal negotiators wrangling over how to equitably distribute a limited supply of fresh water.

Meanwhile, representatives from eight U.S. states and two Canadian provinces bordering the Great Lakes came together to form a compact aimed at protecting their economic and ecological interests. Unfortunately, ratification of the compact has stalled over issues pertaining to private property.

On the other side of the world, a multinational beverage corporation operating in India has determined that it may need to close a bottling plant due to its negative environmental impact. Sisters of Notre Dame in India have reported allegations made by indigenous farmers of ground water theft and soil contamination by this company.

The need for clean water is a deep and complex, touching on almost every facet of every society across the world. Just how important is it? The United Nations has declared the years 2005 through 2015 as the “Water for Life” decade, with 2008 deemed the “International Year of Sanitation.” The Sisters of Notre Dame have joined with the commitment of the United Nations by adopting their own corporate stance on water. “It is more than an issue,” said Sr. Alice Dugar ’67, manager of the Notre Dame College science labs. “Water is the very fabric of life.”

For very different reasons, the individuals featured here from the Notre Dame College community engage in activism and research, examining the future of water accessibility and quality.

Patricia Opaskar '65 is a freelance writer and editor residing in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

Steve Ruic is the writer and editor at Notre Dame College.

E.g., 06/23/19
E.g., 06/23/19