By Dr. Ben Stanford, Senior Director, Water Research and Development, American Water

October 10, 2018

Wednesday, Oct. 10, marks the Value of Water Campaign’s fourth annual Imagine a Day Without Water, which has gained momentum each year. At its core, the campaign calls on people to achieve a deeper understanding of the immense impact water makes on our health, economy and lives—every minute of every day. It also asks us to take some type of action, whether it’s implementing steps to conserve water at home and relieve stress on pipes, or contacting a local legislator requesting increased infrastructure funding. It’s these steps that will help move society forward and prevent a worst-case scenario of a future without water for our communities.
Over the past three years, this single day of communities coming together to take action has proven to be quite powerful in terms of generating awareness and educating America about the value of water, and American Water is proud to support the mission.
It’s a powerful starting point to imagine one day of your life without water—to take a day to grow your appreciation for just how important of a role water plays in every aspect of life, from brushing your teeth to the gallons of water required to make your daily cup of coffee. However, for most people, imagining this for just a day isn’t quite so bad—one day with no food, water, transportation, entertainment, communications, and so on seems doable as long as life resumes as normal the next day.
The reality is that the types of situations that water activists and advocates—from organizations such as the Value of Water Campaign to companies like American Water—are continually working to prevent will not be a simple 24-hour occurrence. We’re not talking about a temporary disruption of water service in a handful of communities due to a leaking water main or storm-water contamination. We’re talking about a much greater, longer-term water crises that is a real possibility if:
• Funding for infrastructure repair, maintenance and replacement doesn’t increase substantially.
• Individuals, businesses and communities don’t do more to reduce demand placed on infrastructure, through better water conservation practices.
Imagine a Day Without Water is a day to get started in growing your appreciation and respect for water, and to consider what actions you can take to make a difference. But it’s also about mobilizing people and communities for the long haul. It’s about adopting an attitude that puts the responsibility of our water infrastructure and water sustainability into the hands of every individual who desires to never have to live a day without water.