In American culture, there exists this wonderfully romantic notion of “roughing it.” An individual or small group would take to the woods for a few days of peace and harmony as they lived “off the land.” No toilets. No free flow of water within your cabin, tent or trailer. No using water for any personal applications without first boiling the impurities away.
But imagine that you didn’t have the safety net of being able to hop back in your car, drive to the nearest hotel and enjoy a seemingly endless supply of clean water for drinking, showering and freshening up that you could ever possibly need. Suddenly the romantic getaway seems pretty nightmarish doesn’t it?
This type of scenario is exactly what the Value of Water’s annual Imagine a Day Without Water campaign drives people to think about. Occurring this year on October 12, Imagine a Day Without Water is a nationwide effort to make people and communities realize that at any given moment they could find themselves cut off from safe, reliable water… for food and drink, personal comforts and emergency situations such as fires.
This situation is universal because our nation’s water infrastructure has been deteriorating. Which brings us to another pillar of Imagine a Day Without Water: rallying everyone from private individuals and corporations to local and federal governments to take stronger, more immediate action to increase resource investments for infrastructure repair and replacement.
If the Imagine a Day Without Water scenario came true across the nation for just 24 hours, $43.5 billion dollars and nearly 2 million jobs would be put in jeopardy. On the flip side, if the country closed the current gap in water infrastructure investment, the national economy would grow by $220 billion in annual economic activity and approximately 1.3 million jobs.
With the growing awareness and advocacy, as well as education and technological advances in water engineering, our ability to innovate and implement solutions for improving water infrastructure has never been greater. So, Imagine a Day Without Water, and keep the conversations going to create a country in which “roughing it” without clean, reliable affordable water only happens by choice.
P.S. – Speaking of keeping the conversation going, I couldn’t end this blog post without proclaiming my gratitude to Dr. Water. I am honored to be part of his legacy in the Water Research and Development group, and as a blogger for the new Water Street blog. Dr. Water has been a great mentor, colleague, and friend to me during the 12 years we worked together at American Water. So please raise a glass of H2O with me and cheers to a happy and well-deserved retirement to Dr. Mark LeChevallier!