Every day, people looking to raise awareness and gain support for important causes head to our nation’s Capital – Washington, D.C. Next week, the water industry takes its turn in a very big way during Water Week 2017. Together, hundreds of advocates from the water community will have our voice heard and “elevate water as a national priority.”
Support for water conservation, reuse and quality improvements has come a long way across the country over the past 20 years. Water Week is an opportunity for water leaders to get in front of key decision makers and lawmakers to ensure that they understand issues critical to the water industry and are motivated to take action with us to protect our world’s most precious natural resource.
During the week, key leaders in the water industry will be bring concerns and facts directly to Congress. These topics will include the dire state of our water infrastructure; challenges for water utilities and our customers; roadblocks to sustainability and access to clean water for all Americans; and the positive economic impact that comes from investments in infrastructure and subsequent job creation.
Water industry leaders will have a Rally for Water on the Capitol grounds on World Water Day, March 22! This rally is always a Water Week highlight as it unites all types of professionals, organizations, investors and citizens in a demonstration of the grassroots dynamic of the modern water movement.
Lastly, Water Week allows the water industry to learn from each other and delve into the dynamics of the new White House administration to gain a better understanding of how changes could impact water utilities and the people we serve in the long- and short-term. The title of one forum summarizes this component of the week’s activities perfectly: Understanding the New Reality—Making Sense Out of Change. Through these types of opportunities water and wastewater utilities will become better prepared for change as well as gain insights that will help us start planning strategies so that we can continue to serve our communities in the best possible way. For a list of Water Week events, click here.
A change as significant as having a new political party and president in the White House can also mean big changes for water policy and our water missions. Many questions are swirling about how changes at EPA might affect safe drinking water standards and protection of clean waterways. Be assured that water industry leaders have always advocated for sensible regulations that above all protect the public and provide value to our customers. That will not change. However, it is important that all of us continue to have our voice heard and continue to make positive changes in our water use so that together we can drive our own message to value and protect one of our most precious national treasures – clean water!
Until consumers are far better informed of the quality of their water they will remain disengaged and without their active engagement there will be no change. The industry needs to be far more open about the quality of its product and not hide behind regulatory standards that haver done little to protect consumers and give them confidence in the product they consume every day. If consumers can know the contents of their daily yoghurt (or bottled water) before they consume it why can’t the same be true of their water? The industry’s response to that question is totally predictable which is why we face the water quality issues we do.
I completely agree with you that water utilities need to engage consumers on issues related to water (no degrees of separation here!). There are important issues related to water that the public need to understand and participate in the decision-making process. That’s why I frequently write about infrastructure, water quality, conservation, and the perceived value of water, among many other water-related issues. The purpose is to inform and engage readers because these issues are so important! Certainly data on water quality is a starting point. All utilities are required to post information on water quality. American Water customers can enter their zip code on our website and find detailed information. In addition, there are links to other commonly asked questions and fact sheets on lead, chromium, and other items of interest like our research program, innovation, and environmental grants. All customers can contact our Customer Service center online with any question or concern.