Imagine a day without water
It can be easy to forget that some issues we all care about cut across political and geographic lines. Constituents may have different opinions on health care and tax reform, but when it comes to our daily lives, voters have a lot in common. They get up in the morning and brush their teeth. They shower, do their laundry, and wash the dishes. But none of which would be possible without safe and reliable water infrastructure, from the forested headwaters of our drinking water supplies to the pipes under our streets, to the rivers that receive treated wastewater.
If you’ve never experienced it before, it’s hard to imagine a day without water.
Most citizens recognize that water is essential to our quality of life. In fact, the vast majority of Americans, across parties and regions, want the government to invest in our water infrastructure. The data shows 88 percent of Americans support increasing federal investment to rebuild water infrastructure, and 75 percent of Americans want Congress to be proactive and invest in our nation’s water infrastructure before our systems fail.
Renewed investment in our water infrastructure isn't only about avoiding a day without water for personal use. A day without water would mean havoc for our economy too because every business is a water reliant business in one way or another.
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 daily sales loss to businesses. In just eight days, a national water service stoppage would put nearly two million jobs in jeopardy.
Unfortunately, there’s a disconnect between what Americans value and our actions. Investment in water infrastructure has not been a priority for decades. The federal government’s investment has declined precipitously, and local elected officials are fearful to raise water rates, and all the while, our systems are literally crumbling.
Built water infrastructure, like treatment plants and pipes, requires upkeep and improvements, just like roads and bridges. Natural water infrastructure, like rivers and floodplains, also need help. After decades of neglect or misuse, most of our streams and watersheds suffer. Habitat restoration can reduce pollution and habitat protection can keep clean water clean.
So, what can you do?
October 10th is Imagine a Day Without Water, a national day of action to raise awareness about the value of water. We have an opportunity to leverage our collective power, educate our decision makers, and inspire our communities to put water infrastructure on the agenda - both types of water infrastructure: built and natural, pipes and rivers.
Together, we can make a difference. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we encourage everyone to:
- Discover where your drinking water comes from and where your stormwater and wastewater eventually go.
- Let your elected officials know that you support public investments in watershed health and water infrastructure.
- Vote in every election, especially local ones and the upcoming mid-terms.
- Share this information with neighbors, family, and friends.
Water is too important to take for granted. Now is the time for all of us – from ratepayers to local, state and federal government - to invest in the health of our watersheds and water systems.