Today is Imagine a Day Without Water. For many Puerto Ricans right now, that’s not so hard to imagine. Water infrastructure is one of those out-of-sight out-of-mind things. Even when you’re pouring a pot of water from the tap to boil pasta, water isn’t what most people think about.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Over the past several years though, the US has had several Stop and Think moments when it comes to water. From Flint, Michigan’s lead-laden water crisis to hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico, the US is not above lacking perfect water infrastructure.
As of today, only 63% of Puerto Rico has access to clean water. Ultimately, water disasters are typically compounded by ineffective and dated water infrastructure.
While we can aid Puerto Rico, my fear is once Puerto Rico has become re-established, we’ll simply stop talking about water infrastructure until the next disaster. The reality is that many states (well, all, really) have ancient water infrastructure that need to be rebuilt. It’s estimated that approximately 850 water main breaks occur in North America each day. If you’re interested in how much that costs taxpayers, you can check that out here.
Each of us relies heavily on access to clean water. We need to value water – not take it for granted until the next disaster. While the cost of new and innovative water infrastructure is staggering, ignoring infrastructure problems is far more costly in the long run. The most obvious way you can help is reach out to your local politicians, congressmen, and senators to let them know that you support new water infrastructure. This didn’t become an overnight problem, and it won’t be an overnight fix, either.
Curious what your state needs right now? You can find a fantastic interactive map here of what each state needs – ranging from dams to wastewater.
The truth is proper water infrastructure is incredibly expensive. But if we value access to clean water, we need to figure out ways to ensure we can provide it. It’s time to invest for a better future.
I don’t want to imagine a day without water – because there’s already plenty of people facing that reality. Sustainable water infrastructure needs to be just that: a sustainable reality.
Looking for more information and ways you can help? Check out the following sites:
Water and Sewer
How Nuclear can Support Sustainable Water Desalination
The Value of Water
The Value Of Water Has A New Meaning