Article written by: Devon Boullion
Your alarm goes off. You hit the snooze button. It’s Monday. The dreaded alarm sounds again, producing the most grating sound known to mankind as your once favorite song launches into the familiar chorus. You roll over just in time to silence Taylor Swift before she can truly explain what you made her do and prepare for your weekly ritual.
A feeling of solidarity with all nine-to-five workers drives you forward as you amble towards the shower. As per usual, you turn the knob hoping the warm shower will help you move from this limbo state between weekend relaxation and binge-watching towards a full week of deadlines and early mornings. In your zombie-like state, it takes you a moment to realize that the water did not immediately switch on. Instead, the tap stalls for a moment. After a few seconds delay, a black, sludgy substance seeps out of the shower holes. In shock and horror, you assume you’re still dreaming. You then attempt to levitate, just to check. Despite your noble efforts, the attempt failed. This is not a dream.
You race to your desk to check Facebook and see if anyone else is having this problem. They are. Just as you frantically Google the name of your local public utilities’ website, you feel the beginnings of a pounding headache. It is then that you grasp the true horror of the situation. No water means no coffee.
While the anecdote above is meant to make you think about your own morning ritual and use of water, your morning routine is only the tip of your water-usage iceberg. America runs on water. Our restaurants, hospitals, industries, farms and even some of our power sources rely on a clean water supply every day.
According to the EPA, in 2010 public supply (via utility departments) accounted for 12% of all freshwater withdrawals (1). An economic study conducted by the Value of Water Campaign revealed that without access to water for just one day, approximately $43.5 billion worth of economic activity would be put at risk (2). In spite of this, many areas have done little to no work to improve their water infrastructure, which was originally laid out by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Depression-era program (established in 1933), the Tennessee Valley Authority.
October 12 is Imagine a Day Without Water. Spearheaded by The Value of Water Coalition, the event encourages us to take a moment and reflect on what we can do to help maintain our safe water supply. In a culture based on innovation and building, we often forget the virtue of maintenance. We rush around, trying to improve aspects of our personal or work lives and often forget that we need to sit down and take care of what is most important to us. Without a solid base, no building can stay standing. Without hard work, no relationship stays together. Without water infrastructure, American business cannot grow or even continue.
We invite you to make your voice heard and participate in Imagine a Day Without Water. Working together amplifies our voices and allows us to bring public and political attention to the importance of our water supply and infrastructure.
Here are some potential ways that you can ensure maintenance of your health, your communities’ health, and the health of American businesses:
- Get involved in the political process.
- Write to your local mayor, public utilities department, elected representative, or governor about the importance of private and public investment in water infrastructure.
- Learn more about water supply and infrastructure.
- Visit The Value of Water website and learn more about the role of water in our lives, our economy, our environment, and our community. Knowledge is the most powerful tool of all.
- Learn to be “water smart” in your day-to-day activities.
- Learn 5 do’s and don’ts of how to be a Sewer Hero! We can all do our part to maintain our sewer infrastructure.
- Tell your friends why water matters to you!
- Take a selfie of what you would miss most on a day without water and use #valuewater!
The Monday morning scenario seems a little outlandish, but “in 2015 nearly 77 million Americans lived in an area where their water infrastructure violated at least one safety regulation (3).” It might not be black sludge that comes out of the shower, but this makes the situation even scarier. Most contaminants of concern in our water, like lead or arsenic, are not easily visible or reported quickly. Let’s work together and remind our politicians, colleagues, friends and ourselves that we need to #valuewater today and every day!