Most people take the water systems that bring clean water to and from their homes and businesses for granted. They turn on the tap or flush the toilet expecting water to flow without thinking twice about where that water came from or where it will go. From source, to tap, to drain, and back, our water systems sustain us.
But could you imagine a day without water? Without safe, reliable water and wastewater service?
A Day Without Water = Crisis
A day without water means no water comes out of your tap to brush your teeth. When you flush the toilet, nothing happens. Firefighters have no water to put out fires; farmers couldn’t water their crops; and doctors couldn’t wash their hands. A single nationwide day without water service would put billions of $ at risk and after just eight days millions of jobs and lives would be in jeopardy. Did you know that 4,600 liters of water is needed to make one beef steak, 70 litres is used to grow one apple and it takes 120 litres to produce 1 glass of wine!
A day without water is nothing short of a humanitarian, political, and economic crisis.
While unimaginable for most of us, there are communities that have lived without water. From man-made tragedies in Walkerton, Ontario & Flint, Michigan, to water scarcity issues in Central California, to wastewater runoff in the Great Lakes, water issues abound. There are millions living in communities that never had the infrastructure to provide safe water service, relying on bottled water and septic systems each day.
Society can do better.
The problems that face our drinking water and wastewater systems are multi-faceted. The infrastructure is aging and in need of investment, having gone underfunded for decades. Drought, flooding, and climate change stress water and wastewater systems. Although these regional challenges will require locally-driven solutions, reinvestment in our water must be a national priority.
Reinvestment in Water Infrastructure = Opportunity
The good news is that people are already widely supportive of increased investment in water infrastructure. People across regional and political spectrums know that investing in drinking water and wastewater systems is key. While neglecting water systems poses grave health and economic dangers, the benefits of reinvestment are great.
There is no other option. Public officials at all levels must prioritize investment in water. Public private partnerships will play an important role in building the drinking water and wastewater systems of tomorrow. Innovation will allow us to build modern, energy efficient, and environmentally advanced systems that will sustain communities for generations to come.
No community can thrive without water and everyone deserves a safe, reliable, accessible water supply. We need to prioritize building stronger water and wastewater systems now so no community has to imagine living a day without water.