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What does this mean?

Americans Cite Safe Drinking Water as Top Environmental Concern

Climate change and other factors put growing pressure on critical watersheds.

This is the first of a three-part series designed to help readers understand the watersheds they depend on for drinking water and to provide easy-to-understand information on drinking water quality. Read Part 2. Read Part 3.

A Gallup poll revealed that Americans rank drinking water quality and water pollution first among their environmental concerns. This makes sense. Safe drinking water is vital to everyone. We all need safe, reliable, sufficient freshwater resources to:

  • Support our health and well-being
  • Ensure the viability of our cities and communities
  • Support our energy and industrial sectors
  • Protect the ecosystems on which we rely

In short, water is a precious resource we all need and therefore have a collective responsibility to understand and protect.


Water is made up of a dynamic, ever-changing network of interrelated factors. Depending on where you live, your drinking water may come from a river, lake, stream, reservoir or groundwater — but all water is interconnected.

As water from one geographic area flows into another, it impacts communities and ecosystems potentially hundreds of miles downstream. Water quality and quantity are influenced by the environments through which water passes. Soil properties, temperature, air, industrial activity and land characteristics, such as forests or agriculture, are just some of the factors that continuously change water quality and quantity.

The origins of and influences on the source water in your area impact how safe the water is to drink. Drinking water utilities clean and disinfect source water and regulate water supply, but those utilities must take measures based on the initial water quality in watersheds.


A watershed is an area where water from rain, snowmelt and upstream sources come together in one location such as a lake, river or wetland. Watersheds supply our drinking water and water used for agriculture and manufacturing. They also provide opportunities for recreation and support the plant and animal species that create healthy ecosystems.

Climate change is significantly impacting these watersheds. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, more than 90 percent of climate change impacts involve water.

Natural disasters are most often associated with water, but it’s not just the actual disasters (storms, flooding or drought) that cause water challenges. The aftereffects of these events — contaminated freshwater sources due to runoff, sediment disturbance, combined sewer overflows, heat-induced algae blooms and the like — impact water quality. Couple that with continued pollution from industrial and agricultural operations, waste and stormwater, and the threats to our precious and shared drinking water sources become even more pronounced.


Water’s dynamic nature and the impacts of climate change make water difficult to understand, track and predict.

Given this degree of complexity, how can we know what is in our drinking water? How can we have confidence that it is safe to drink? How can policymakers and regulatory agencies make fully informed decisions to ensure safe, reliable drinking water for communities?

There is an urgent need to break down water’s complexity into clear and actionable information so everyone can grasp potential concerns or the need to push for policies and regulations to improve water quality.

Fortunately, state-of-the-art technology, science and engineering can provide the water intelligence needed for more accurate and collective understanding of our shared water resources.


True Elements applies a unique combination of sophisticated scientific analysis and patent-pending artificial intelligence capabilities to multiple layers of watershed data to produce deeper, clearer and more holistic insights into watershed dynamics and water quality and quantity.

We create easy-to-interpret visualizations and True Qi scores to provide clear quality metrics of drinking water down to the ZIP code level.* This helps residents better understand the quality of their drinking water and helps government, policy and regulatory leaders make more informed decisions for their constituents.

Click on the map above to access True Qi drinking water scores in your area or anywhere in the U.S.

Click here for a brief video demonstrating how to find a True Qi drinking water score for your specific location.

*See “What You Should Know About Drinking Water Quality” for frequently asked questions and answers.

For more information about True Elements or True Qi drinking water scores, please contact us.

Next week, read Part II of the What’s in Your Water? What You Should Know and Why series where watershed dynamics and the methodology behind True Qi drinking water scores will be explained.
True Elements transforms water and data complexity into clear, easy to understand insights for fully informed, effective decision making.