Most Americans take water for granted. They turn on the tap, and clean water flows out. They take a shower or flush the toilet, and dirty water goes away. We hardly think twice about the infrastructure that brings water to our homes, and safely returns water to the environment – but we should. The reality is, a surprising amount of water infrastructure in the Carolinas is aging and even failing. While most of us cannot imagine a day without water, there are many communities that have lived, and are living, without water because they don’t have safe and reliable infrastructure. As citizens go to the polls next month to vote in the midterm elections, the next wave of lawmakers in both state legislature and Washington need to make water a priority so no American has to imagine a day or life without water.
Today, October, 10, we are proud to team with thevalueofwater.org to raise awareness of this risk.
A Day Without Water = Crisis
What does a day without water really mean? It means no water to shower or flush the toilet, no water to drink or cook with, and no water to do laundry or dishes. A single nationwide day without water service would put $43.5 billion in economic activity at risk and would make it impossible for doctors, firefighters, and farmers to serve our communities. Our water infrastructure supports every facet of our daily lives – both personal and in business, but our water infrastructure is facing incredible challenges. Demographic and climate pressures, such as increased natural disasters, drought, flooding, and wildfire, threaten our infrastructure and increase the possibility of a day without water. These challenges look different to different communities and will require local solutions, but it’s clear that reinvestment in our water systems must be a national priority.
Reinvestment in Water Infrastructure = Opportunity
The good news is that closing our nation’s water infrastructure gap would generate over $220 billion in total annual economic activity, create and sustain over a million jobs, and guarantee our public health and environmental safety. National polling shows 88% of Americans support increasing federal investment to rebuild water infrastructure, and 75% of Americans want Congress to invest in our nation’s water infrastructure before our systems fail.
So how do we make the most of this opportunity? No other issue facing our public officials has such a broad consensus, and 2018's elections are some of the easiest ways to vote for leaders who share our values. Make sure you are registered and then take the time to go and make sure your voice is heard. Then, while we’re waiting for changes to be made on a broader scale we can all find ways to give back locally. For example, find a time to volunteer for a river cleanup or fundraiser with Sound Rivers, a nonprofit that guards the health of the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico River Basins. However you choose to speak up and get involved, investing in our water means no American will have to imagine a day without water.