Can you imagine a day without water?

Sep 21, 2017

To the Editor:

With all the division in our government, it is easy to forget there are some policy priorities that cut across party lines. Town residents may have different opinions on items such as tax reform, but we all have a lot in common too. We all get up in the morning and brush our teeth, use the bathroom, and make coffee.

But if you think about it, water unites all of us. Of course, people say it should be a priority. Can you even begin to imagine a day without water? It isn’t just your personal use of water. Water is also essential to a functioning economy. How can a restaurant or brewery serve customers without water to cook, make coffee and beer, or wash the dishes? They cannot. And what about manufacturers, many would grind to a halt too. And let us not forget the benefits of fire suppression which was one of the founding reasons for the water supplies.

An economic study released by the Value of Water Campaign earlier this year found that a single nationwide day without water service would put $43.5 billion of economic activity at risk. But investing in water infrastructure, unfortunately, has not been a priority federally for decades. The federal government’s investment has declined precipitously, leaving localities to make up the difference. Which means it is on localities to raise taxes, or for utilities to charge rates that can pay for the massive infrastructure system.

And the truth is, communities across the country have let those systems deteriorate for far too long. We saw the tragedy in Flint, Michigan where thousands of residents were affected by tainted water supplies. Water systems in other communities are under threat too, including Wareham, and millions of Americans live in regions that completely lack water infrastructure.

There is no doubt about it – a day without water is a crisis. That is why we are joining with hundreds of groups across the country for Imagine a Day Without Water (http://imagineadaywithoutwater.org/), because we want people to pay attention to our water systems. This country can do remarkable things, and if 82 percent of Americans agree on something, it must be important. Water is a public health issue and an economic issue. No community can thrive without water, and every American deserves a safe, reliable, accessible water supply and wastewater treatment. Let’s demand better, and make sure no American ever has to imagine a day without water again.

 

Andrew Reid

Water Superintendent

Wareham Fire District

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