It’s Time To Imagine a Day Without Water

A cartoon image of a tap inserted into a drying planet earth, for an LCA post on Imagine a Day Without Water

Can you imagine waking up one morning and finding that there’s no water at the tap?

For many Americans, that’s a reality they wake up to every day.

A 2019 study by the US Water Alliance and DigDeep found at least two million people who lack access to adequate sanitation and drinking water — primarily among Indigenous, Black, Hispanic, Latino, and low-income communities.

And a combination of failing infrastructure, drought, and severe storms have left dozens of communities reeling—from West Virginia to Mississippi to New Mexico—as they struggle to restore, repair and upgrade water and sewer service.

Do You Take Water for Granted?

Today, Oct. 20, we Imagine a Day Without Water. It’s a day to learn where your water comes from and where it goes.

Most of us don’t think much about it. We turn on the tap, and clean water flows out. We flush the toilet, and wastewater goes away. We hop in the shower and scrub off in the hot spray until we’re clean.

And that’s the point: When you have reliable water service, you don’t have to think about the infrastructure that brings water to your home or business and returns it safely to the environment — but we should. We should also consider how much water we waste, and the impact of chemicals and other pollutants on our source water

  • Water is essential to public sanitation and health. Imagine how much worse the pandemic could have been without reliable drinking water and sanitation!
  • In communities with inadequate water and wastewater infrastructure, the public health consequences have been dire.  

Water Infrastructure is a Lifeline

Some points to ponder:

  • A day without water means firefighters can’t do their jobs, hospitals can’t function, and no one can bathe. Water infrastructure is vital to every household and community.
  • Most water systems are more than a century old. As water infrastructure ages and deteriorates, street flooding, water service disruptions, and the resulting damage increases. Each day in the United States, a water main breaks every 2 minutes.
an LCA crew member works on an infrastructure upgrade in Heidelberg Heights, to illustrate an LCA blog post on Imagine a Day Without Water.
  • Extreme weather and climate events, such as drought, hurricanes, storms, flooding, and wildfires are happening more often and are intensifying due to climate change. These disasters overwhelm our aging water infrastructure and can leave communities without reliable access to safe water and wastewater services for days, weeks or months.
  • In Allentown, where LCA operates the water and sewer systems and treatment plants under the terms of a lease agreement, we need to repair and replace aging infrastructure — work that is costly and long overdue. We expect it will cost $150 million over the next 10 years.
  • Infrastructure in all other parts of our service area requires regular maintenance, rehabilitation, and updates, too. (At right, an LCA crew member works on sewer system infrastructure upgrades in our Heidelberg Heights Division.)

Securing our Future

Imagine a Day Without Water is an opportunity to share why water is important to you, your business, your community. 

  • According to the 2021 Annual Value of Water Index, the highest federal priority for voters was ensuring a reliable water supply.
  • We can help secure a better future for the millions of Americans who don’t have reliable water service today and the generations to come.
  • Together, we can speak with one voice and ask public officials to take responsibility for our water today and tomorrow.

As an individual, you may wonder where you fit into ensuring a day without water doesn’t become a reality. It’s a daunting task, but our collective voice can make a real, lasting impact. Education is key.

By taking the #OneWaterPledge, you will learn about local water sources and what your water and wastewater utilities are doing to invest in your community. Connect with policymakers and find out where they stand on investing in water infrastructure.

Teach your 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.

No matter your reason for participating in Imagine a Day Without Water, continue the conversation with your friends, family, and co-workers about the value of water. A day without water doesn’t have to be inevitable. Let’s work toward a reality in which a day without water is something everyone can only imagine.