By Diane VanDe Hei, Executive Director, Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies

March 31, 2016

Can you imagine a day without water?

That’s what a group of water utilities is asking the public in a national campaign aimed at educating ratepayers on the value of water.

Imagine this, the campaign says: “No water to drink or make coffee. No water to shower, flush the toilet, or do laundry. Firefighters couldn’t put out fires and farmers couldn’t water their crops.”

Participants include such groups as the American Water Works Association (AWWA), the Water Environment Federation, American Water, DC Water, North Texas Municipal Water, Philadelphia Water, Black & Veatch, Veolia, and the Alliance for Water Efficiency, among dozens of others.

The Albemarle County Service Authority and the Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority (RWSA) also participated. They got active in the campaign by hosting local outreach events.

They raised awareness “about the importance of local infrastructure, which brings clean water to citizens, and about water conservation. On the free speech wall, people wrote all the things they couldn’t do without water, like take a shower, grow a garden, or make a pot of coffee,” according to Newsplex.

Lauren Hildebrand, utilities director in Charlottesville, VA, explained the impetus for the event.

“From a utility’s perspective, we put a lot into our infrastructure to make improvements, to maintain it. I think people take that for granted because they have water every day,” Hildebrand said. “It’s an essential resource that we need to appreciate more.”

Tom Frederick, the RWSA executive director, spoke from an environmental perspective.

“The water that we treat and comes out of our pipes comes from rivers. When we take water out of our rivers, organisms in our environment lose access to that. We need to be cognizant of that. We need to recognize that to be good stewards of our own environment, we need to take the water that we need for our own wellbeing, but don’t waste that,” he said, per the report.

The value of water is of pivotal importance to the water industry. In 2014, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) ranked value-of-water issues among the top concerns of water professionals. Numbers four and five on AWWA’s list, respectively, were “public understanding of the value of water resources” and “public understanding of the value of water systems and services.”

For similar stories, visit Water Online’s Consumer Outreach Solutions Center.