Chief Executive Officer, US Water Alliance; Director, Value of Water Campaign
The drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan, made millions of Americans take notice of what happens when we neglect our drinking water infrastructure. It’s an important conversation to have, and everyone should educate themselves about where their water comes from.
But water infrastructure issues don’t end when you turn on the tap.
When you have reliable wastewater services, you don’t have to think twice about the infrastructure that safely returns water to the environment, but everyone should. Most Americans take for granted that when water flows down their sinks and shower drains, it goes somewhere else and is properly treated.
But what would your day be like if you flushed the toilet and wastewater didn’t go anywhere? If you ran the dishwasher or laundry machine, but the dirty water never drained away? What would businesses do without water infrastructure or service?
A day without water is a crisis.
On Oct. 23, the Value of Water Campaign is organizing the fifth annual national day of education and awareness: “Imagine a Day Without Water.” America’s water infrastructure is aging and failing. There are communities, especially in many rural places across the country, that have never had access to infrastructure in the first place — a scenario most Americans can’t imagine.
We don’t have to look far to understand what happens when sewers and wastewater treatment fails. Heavy rains and hurricanes lead to raw sewage spills into rivers and streams, sometimes tainting drinking water supplies and killing wildlife. Corals off the coast of Florida are dying from too much nitrogen caused by improperly treated sewage. This summer, the Gulf of Mexico has a “dead zone” the size of New Hampshire because of pollution runoff from the Mississippi River.
Our water infrastructure supports every facet of our daily lives, but is facing unprecedented challenges. These challenges look different to different communities and will require local solutions, but reinvesting in our water systems must be a national priority.
“Imagine a Day Without Water” is an opportunity to share why water is important to you, your business, and your community. We must ensure a reliable water future for generations to come by taking action now. Visit ImagineADayWithoutWater.org for more information.
Radhika Fox, Chief Executive Officer, US Water Alliance; Director, Value of Water Campaign, [email protected]