This year, our country faced an enormous public health crisis from the coronavirus pandemic. Throughout this emergency, water and wastewater systems kept the water flowing in homes, hospitals and essential businesses. This crisis demonstrated the critical role that water, and wastewater systems play in their communities, protecting public health, safeguarding the environment and making a healthy economy possible. It is easy to imagine how much worse the pandemic would have been without access to water. Without reliable drinking water and sanitation, Americans would be unable to stay safe and limit the spread. In communities with inadequate water and wastewater infrastructure, the public health consequences have been dire.
Today, we Imagine a Day Without Water. It’s a day to pause and notice the way that water systems impact our lives and communities and commit to ensuring a sustainable water future for generations to come. What would your day be like if you couldn’t turn on the tap and get clean drinking water, or if you flushed the toilet and wastewater didn’t go anywhere? What would happen to restaurants, hospitals, firefighters, farms, breweries or the hundreds of industries that depend on water?
Millions of Americans take water service for granted every day. Turn on the tap, and clean water flows out. Flush the toilet, and dirty water goes away. Washing our hands regularly is one of the most important steps to take to limit the spread of coronavirus, and we usually don’t stop to think about the impressive infrastructure and treatment required to make sure the water comes out when you open the tap, or safely returns water to the environment from your sink.
Susan Pekarek, general manager of Johnson County Wastewater, noted that JCW provides sanitary sewer service to a population of approximately 500,000 in the county by cleaning the wastewater they send to us each day.
"2020 is JCW's 75th year of serving Johnson Countians," she said. "What started out as a small facility constructed to serve a few customers in the northeastern portion of the county in the 1940's has continued to grow with the county to serve residents and businesses in 16 cities of our county and the unincorporated area.
“We’re continually looking for ways to enhance our efficiency, environmental friendliness and customer service while offering a vital resource to those who need it.”
Imagine a Day Without Water is an opportunity for everyone to become educated about their local water systems and raise awareness. Leadership is necessary at every level to work together to ensure a reliable water future for generations to come.