For the past four years, American Water has proudly put our words and actions behind the Value of Water Campaign’s Imagine a Day Without Water. We’ve joined the country in creating awareness about the many ways water impacts our everyday life and makes it all possible. We’ve engaged communities in activities designed to help them truly understand how and why water is necessary for daily life—from toothbrushing and nourishment to emergency services to transportation. It’s hard to imagine but it would all disappear without water. In doing so, we’ve experienced a growth in community appreciation for critical, but limited water resources.
On October 23, the fifth annual Imagine a Day Without Water will take place. American Water will, of course, continue to put our “hydropower” behind the messaging and the progress of the past four years. (Be sure to check out this captivating video!) Since we already have these great things in place to address the everyday essentials of water, this Water Street is an opportunity to take the Imagine a Day Without Water thinking to a slightly different but equally important level…I’d like everyone for a few minutes to consider the nonessential role water plays in our lives.
Think about the “photo albums” of your life. If you need help, pull out your phone and skim through your photos and videos. Look at all those special memories! Your parents’ 50th anniversary party. The excitement on your kids’ faces during the first family trip to a special destination. The neighborhood pool party. You get my point. Without water, neither of those experiences would be possible, nor would any of the devices you use to capture and share those moments.
In an extended water emergency, when the water supply becomes so compromised and/or limited that it must be restricted, rationed or is completely unavailable —these special moments and experiences will be the first to “dry up” and disappear altogether, because water will be reserved for the essentials. A country desperate to make sure every person has water for drinking, hygiene and overall survival won’t be concerned about the nonessential uses of water, such as for fuel production to power air flights for leisure trips or to sustain the growing season for those long-stemmed roses you traditionally buy for your spouse on your anniversary, that water would go to crops that provide us with sustenance.
Lastly, we must consider that a scenario such as one in which water is absent for these special experiences is a real possibility. Today, more than 6 million people living in rural areas of the U.S. have daily water contamination issues. Our water infrastructure is operating on borrowed time, and global climate variability is creating challenges for water quality and availability. These factors and many others make severe water situations a real possibility.
So, as an extension of the October 23 Day Without Water observance, I encourage everyone to image how different those special moments in our life would be without water. I know we’ll all can get a fuller view of just how deeply water permeates our life and everything we cherish about it. I’m confident that with this greater appreciation for the value of water, everyone will be inspired to take one more action to conserve and protect this natural treasure.