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When Water Damage Disrupts Lives and Economies

Posted on 27 June 2018 by admin (0)

The Romans built large scale aqueducts which acted as conduits of water from natural sources which supplied households, latrines, fountains, and the public bath systems that were developed largely for the general public.

Water, then, as now was regarded as a highly valued necessity and sometimes even a luxury. While this natural element enjoys the goodwill of nearly all living things it has very often endured a somewhat ignominious reputation as a carrier of health hazards and as a threat to development.

Below are a few examples of water damage and their threat to health:

Flint, Michigan, U.S.A:  In 2014, the State of Michigan switched its water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River. The decision to rely on the Flint River overlooked its location as a cesspool of waste. This momentous decision has upturned thousands of lives and cost the state a fortune. When residents turned on their water faucets, brown water flowed, making people sick from drinking and cooking from it. Also ignored was the fact that the Flint River was 19 times more corrosive with iron than Lake Huron.  The water pipes going into peoples’ homes, being made of lead, became contaminated too, leading to high rates of toxicity.  Interestingly, Flint could have been saved from at least 90% of its current woes with the application of an anti-corroding agent that costs a mere $100 when this decision was taken.

Artibonite River, Haiti: A major water damage issue became an international cause celebre igniting a firestorm of accusations against the United Nations. In 2010 a cohort of the United Nations’ Nepalese contingent disposed of human waste in the Artibonite River which linked vast portions of the Island country. In very little time nearly 10, 000 Haitians lost their lives while over 7% of the 10.9 million-strong population became adversely affected by the contamination. The international body has committed to establishing a $400 million trust fund to cater to the victims of the incident.

Camelford, Cornwall. United Kingdom: In 1991, 148 victims of a water damage incident received compensation from the South West Water Authority which had introduced twenty tonnes of Aluminium Sulphate through taps of hundreds of residents. This damage to the supply system and the foul, smelly water it produced caused cases of stomach cramps, ulcers and diarrhoea and even led to the death of an individual from a rare neurological disease. This incident was to snowball into a decades-long court action and thousands of pounds in settlement.

Dhaka, Bangladesh: It would be unfair to restrict the massive poisoning that has occurred for decades in Bangladesh to just the capital city of Dhaka. All of the country has been stricken by Arsenic laced water that has threatened lives on a massive scale. Water wells in some places have an arsenic level of 50 parts per billion which is adjudged as being five times higher than the level of 10 which is the World Health Organization’s standard. This damage to ecosystems borne by water is said to be responsible for over 43,000 deaths annually in Bangladesh alone.