Partnering With NOAA to Ensure Safe Drinking Water

Collaboration with agencies like NOAA is the key to ensuring clean and safe drinking water

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Guest Blogger

Cleveland Water is the lead public water system in the Lake Erie Hypoxia Forecasting Project which began in March 2017. This 5-year grant project brings together inter-agency and university scientists to produce a forecasting system that will predict the location and movement of hypoxic water in Lake Erie.

Partnerships between federal agencies like NOAA and local utilities like Cleveland Water are the key to ensuring clean and safe drinking water for communities across the country.

Each day Cleveland Water’s four treatment plants bring water from offshore in Lake Erie, treat it and then pump clean drinking water through the 5,300 miles of water mains that serve Cuyahoga County and parts of four surrounding counties. As the ninth largest public water system in the United States, Cleveland Water ensures that 1.5 million people and thousands of businesses have reliable access to safe drinking water. NOAA’s tracking of real-time water quality conditions in Lake Erie is crucial because it allows us to adjust our water treatment process and guarantee that our customers never notice a difference at the tap.

Like other public water systems, Cleveland Water depends on data and support from local, state and federal partners. Collectively, our partners have access to billions of dollars’ worth of satellite systems, ships, buoys, aircraft, research facilities, high-performance computing and information management and distribution systems.

Water quality data collected by our partners helps us develop models (like the Lake Erie Hypoxia Forecast Model) that send advance warnings when sub-standard water could enter our system. Being able to adapt quickly to potentially harmful water changes is important to local communities and economies. Ocean Conservancy and Great Lakes Outreach Media captured our problem-solving efforts in the video below, where we show how we work with our stakeholders to monitor the Great Lakes and continue improving our water treatment system.

Cleveland Water is addressing issues head-on with advanced planning and programs. We are implementing a system-wide corrosion control program, removing all lead service lines when disturbed, researching and improving our water treatment process and educating customers about actions they need to take when it comes to water.

Moving forward, we are excited to work with our partners to invent buoys that can be deployed year-round and create sensors that can provide real-time monitoring. These collaborative partnerships—along with innovative technology and tools—are what ensure we can continue delivering safe and clean drinking water to our customers for years to come.

Our work is focused on solving some of the greatest threats facing our ocean today. We bring people, science and policy together to champion innovative solutions and fight for a sustainable ocean.
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