Can you imagine a day without water?
By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator
Think a moment about your typical morning routine.
You wake up and make a steaming cup of fresh coffee or tea before heading to the toilet and the shower. After you get dressed in freshly washed clothes, you eat a nutritious breakfast and clean your dishes in the dishwasher or sink.
Of course, you make your dentist happy by brushing your teeth.
Now, imagine for a moment that you had no water. None of your morning activities would be possible without safe and reliable water and the infrastructure that delivers it to your home.
If you’ve never gone without water, it’s almost impossible to envision a day without it. Your water service may have temporarily been shut off to repair a leak, but you had full confidence that the water would soon flow again.
Today is the fourth annual Imagine a Day Without Water, a nationwide day of education and advocacy about the value of water. The Value of Water Campaign is helping hundreds of organizations across the country host events and spearhead projects aimed at raising awareness about the crucial need for investing in our nation’s water infrastructure.
After decades of underfunding, water infrastructure across the nation has aged and needs replacement or significant repairs. Drought, flooding, and population changes have dramatically increased the stress on our water and wastewater systems.
According to the Value of Water Campaign’s report on The Economic Benefits of Investing in Water Infrastructure, a one-day disruption in water services at a national level would result in a $43.5 billion loss in sales for businesses. In just eight days, a national water service stoppage would put nearly two million jobs in jeopardy.
In contrast, for each job created in the water sector, 3.68 jobs are added to the national economy. For every $1 spent on infrastructure improvements, the United States generates $6 in economic returns. That’s a sound investment.
It’s not all gloom and doom. College Station’s water and wastewater systems are young compared to many cities. For the most part, we’ve been able to stay ahead of our infrastructure needs. Each day – including weekends and holidays – our Water Services employees maintain 454 miles of water lines, 363 miles of wastewater lines, nine groundwater wells, and three wastewater treatment plants.
City councils and community leaders through the years have recognized that water is essential to the quality of life and economic competitiveness and have supported the water and wastewater rates necessary to maintain award-winning water and wastewater systems.
At Monday’s city council meeting, Mayor Karl Mooney read an official proclamation (at right) for Imagine a Day Without Water to draw attention to the many ways we maintain critical water and wastewater infrastructure.
How you can help
No community can thrive without water, and every American deserves safe, reliable, and accessible water.
You can help by conserving water. Since irrigation water gushing down the street benefits no one, sign up for landscape watering recommendations from Brazos Valley WaterSmart. Every gallon of water saved is a gallon left in the Simsboro Aquifer for later use.
You can also help keep our waterways clean by avoiding over-fertilizing, picking up litter, and disposing of hazardous waste at Household Hazardous Waste collection events like the one scheduled for Oct. 20. Improperly discarded fertilizer, motor oil, and litter make its way into our creeks, which feed into the Navasota and Brazos Rivers – and someone is drinking that water downstream.
A groundswell of communities and partners have come together to promote safe and reliable water systems with Imagine a Day Without Water. We can make a difference by leveraging our collective power, educating our decision-makers, and inspiring our communities to make water infrastructure a priority.
Let’s invest in our water systems, so no American ever has to live a day without water.
About the Blogger
Jennifer Nations has been the City of College Station’s water resource coordinator since 1999 after two years as BVSWMA’s environmental compliance officer. She’s also chair of the Water Conservation and Reuse Division for the Texas Section of the American Water Works Association. A native of Fremont, Calif., Jennifer earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental & resource science from UC-Davis in 1995 and a master’s degree in water management & hydrologic science from Texas A&M in 2016.
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