October 10 is Imagine a Day Without Water. Why? Is it because the cornerstone of our existence is taken for granted in our developed world? Thirsty? Just turn the faucet. Either hand works.
What’s the big…then it hit me…
For the first 2/3 of my life, I didn’t touch the stuff. Who needed coffee? I had youth and eight-hours a night sleep.
Then I had children.
My hair began to rise inversely proportionate to my energy levels. My eyes took on a ferret-like redness that made junior engineers run back to their cubicles. The bags under my eyes considered debuting on the Paris fashion scene as a fashionable accessory for the walking dead. I needed help!
So, yes, I value water. One, because I am one of the 7.6 billion people on this planet whose body is over 50% water. Two, because I work in the industry that builds and protects water infrastructure. Three, BECAUSE I NEED COFFEE! Coffee and I became a team, tackling early morning meetings and tediously long drives, freezing cold hockey rinks and late night marathons with my favorite detective, Jesus De La Cruz.
Imagine a day without water? The opening lines would be something like “It was a dark and dreadful day. The junior engineers scented danger in the air the way rats did before they abandoned ship.”
One thing that burns my biscuits about the discourse on municipally supplied water is the lack of celebration about how high the quality water is and how cheaply available it is. In my town, it costs me $11 a month for water plus $2 for every 100 cubic feet of water. How much is 100 cubic feet of water? 748 gallons. Yep, 748 gallons for $13.
The average person uses about 100 gallons a day for hygiene, cooking, drinking and every other part of life. So, $13 will keep me, myself, and I in water for about six days. Every additional 748 gallons is just another $2. If that’s not making an impression on you, let me spell it out.
TWO DOLLARS BUYS SEVEN HUNDRED AND FORTY EIGHT GALLONS OF FRESH, CLEAN, HIGH QUALITY WATER.
More perspective: Buying bottled water can cost anywhere from $1 a gallon to $2.50 for 20 oz ($16 per gallon). If I lived on bottled water, I would spend anywhere from $748 to $11,968 for those same 748 gallons. Now, if it were coffee…I’d still be out of my mind.
So, do I whine when the my utility announces rates will go up $1.50 a month to replace the 100 year old water lines? Nope. Just the opposite. I want to pay my share. I want the pipes not to break (a cost of $5,000 per break to fix). I want the algae filtered out (hate that taste). I want the lead held in check (for me and my kids). I want the water to come out each and every time I turn the faucet. Right handed, or left handed.
I am sympathetic to those who struggle with the cost of living in our society. However, maintaining the high quality infrastructure we have is always ALWAYS going to be the least expensive cost. Can’t afford $1.50? How are you going to afford $750 when the pipes break? Imagine a world without water and you understand we can’t afford to be cheap when it comes to our infrastructure.