With its many uses for drinking, recreation, sanitation, hygiene, and industry, water is our most precious global resource. Clean and safe drinking water is critical to sustain human life and without it waterborne illness can be a serious problem. Water, which is necessary for recreational water activities like swimming, also helps promote healthy living. Often, water’s vital role is most apparent during an emergency or disaster. Answers to your water-related questions can be found within our healthy water pages, below.
* Based on tracking of waterborne outbreaks from 1971-2006. Outbreak reporting is dependent on detection, investigation, and reporting of the outbreak. This requires health effects to be measured and these health effects to be linked to water exposure. However, many contaminants (i.e., many chemicals) in drinking water may not cause easily recognizable outbreaks because they require a long chronic exposure period. As a result, they would not be part of waterborne disease outbreak reporting or part of these Top 5 lists.