This year, our country faced an enormous public health crisis from the coronavirus pandemic.
Throughout this emergency, utility crews worked tirelessly behind the scenes, and water and wastewater systems kept the water flowing in homes, hospitals, and essential businesses. This crisis demonstrated the critical role that water and wastewater systems play in our communities, protecting public health, safeguarding the environment, and making a healthy economy possible.
It is easy to imagine how much worse the pandemic would have been without widespread access to water infrastructure. Without reliable drinking water and sanitation, Americans would be unable to stay safe and limit the spread. In communities with inadequate water and wastewater infrastructure, the public health consequences have been dire.
On Wednesday, Oct. 21, join us as we Imagine a Day Without Water. It’s a national education campaign that brings together diverse stakeholders to highlight how water is essential, invaluable, and in need of investment. And it’s a day to pause and notice the way that water systems are an essential part our lives and communities, and commit to ensuring a sustainable water future for generations to come.
What would your day be like if you couldn’t turn on the tap and get clean drinking water, or if you flushed the toilet and wastewater didn’t go anywhere? What would happen to hospitals, firefighters, farms, breweries, or the hundreds of industries that depend on water?
Washing our hands regularly is one of the most important steps to take to limit the spread of coronavirus, and we usually don’t stop to think about the impressive infrastructure and treatment required to make sure the water comes out when you open the tap, or safely returns water to the environment from your sink. But the truth is, our nation’s water and wastewater systems are getting older — some were installed a century ago — and everyone should be concerned with the vulnerability of those systems.
While we continue to enjoy high quality and reliable water service now, maintaining that level of service is going to be harder and harder as America’s water infrastructure continues to deteriorate. Meanwhile, new threats from record rainfalls, flooding, toxic algae, drought and wildfires threaten critical water systems across the nation. Some communities, especially in many rural places across the country, never had access to that infrastructure in the first place.
“We recently renewed our partnership with the City of Allentown with some updates to the 50-year lease agreement to operate the water and sewer systems. The public’s health, the quality of our local waterways, and our region’s economic future all depend on having a sustainable water and sewer system. The systems need substantial upgrades, expected to total more than $150 million over the next decade,” says LCA’s CEO Liesel Gross. And we’re just one example of a problem that water authorities are grappling with all over the country. Larger municipalities face an even costlier future.
As we look at ways to help lift our economy out of the recession, investing in water infrastructure is a winning solution. Investing in water creates cascading economic benefits — strengthening American competitiveness, raising the GDP, creating jobs and increasing wages. Investing in water provides a path to economic recovery.
Awareness is Critical
Imagine a Day Without Water is an opportunity for everyone to get educated about our local water systems and raise awareness with our elected leaders. We need leadership at every level to work together to ensure a reliable water future for generations to come. Investing in water is investing in a future where no American will have to imagine a day without water.
It’s time to take water seriously, and it’s time to teach our children about the value of water, too. Get the facts by downloading the Economic Benefits of Investing in Water Infrastructure. Parents and teachers can download the Pipe Up! PDF for a number of games that will help show kids how water gets to their house; how they can protect water sources; what’s safe to flush, and more.
Let’s all try to Imagine a Day Without Water — so that we don’t have to face the reality.