Although the debate is raging on in Washington D.C., it appears that – one way or another – our legislators will be voting on an infrastructure bill soon. And water infrastructure is high on the list for improvements. Across party lines, everyone is starting to understand that this is something we need.
Why do we need to improve our water infrastructure?
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, “there is a water main break every two minutes and an estimated 6 billion gallons of treated water lost each day in the U.S. – enough to fill over 9,000 swimming pools” (Source).
For years, the public has been told that the U.S. has safe water, but, more recently, advocacy groups have been raising the alarm about crumbling water systems. According to the team at the Value of Water Campaign:
- Water infrastructure is aging and in need of repair or replacement. Many systems were built over a century ago.
- As water systems age, disruptions will become more common. Pipe breaks have increased by 27% between 2012 and 2018 are expected to increase by 600% in 20 years if we don’t increase investment in our systems. Water service disruptions are costly to utilities, customers, businesses, and the economy in general.
- Without investment, water and wastewater systems will continue to deteriorate, leading to serious consequences for public health and the economy. If we continue on the current path, by 2039, we will have accrued a cumulative capital investment gap of $2.2 trillion, and a $3.9 trillion decline in gross domestic product due to negative impacts to other industries, depressed wages, and lost jobs.
- Investing in water creates cascading economic benefits, strengthening American competitiveness, raising GDP, creating jobs and increasing wages. Even if we just covered one-half of our capital investment needs, we would create over 700,000 jobs, raise wages by $2 trillion, and increase GDP by $3.5 trillion above baseline projections.
- As we face the largest economic depression in a generation, investing in water provides a path to economic recovery. (Source)
On October 21, 2020, the Value of Water Campaign hosted their sixth annual day of action, Imagine a Day Without Water. Imagine a Day Without Water raises awareness about the value of water and the need to invest in water and wastewater infrastructure by asking Americans to imagine a day without life’s most essential resource. You can read Pure Water’s response to Imagine A Day Without Water 2020 here. Or you can check out our Imagine A Day Without Water 2019 infographic here.
The need for better systems isn’t going away. We need to start taking action. But even if we start taking action today, how long will it be until we see results?
What short-term changes can we expect?
One of the biggest improvements that everyone agrees on is the need to replace lead service lines throughout the U.S. The bad news is that even if we make progress on replacing these lead service lines, you’ll see negative changes in the short term.
According to the NRDC, “partial replacement of a lead service line can actually make the problem worse, and often can dramatically increase levels of lead in tap water. If you learn that your utility or water department intends to replace only a portion of your lead service line, ask for resources to help you replace the entire lead service line. If you do have a full service line replacement, the construction could still disturb the water pipes and loosen some lead particles inside the pipes.” (Source)
This means that you’ll actually see MORE lead in your tap water for up to six months. (We strongly recommend distilling your tap water before drinking it to ensure that you are not consuming lead. Read more about the risks of lead.)
Beyond this, if you see water infrastructure improvements in your neighborhood, you’ll soon be able to expect more reliable service, less water main breakage, and fewer boil alerts.
What long-term changes can we expect?
Long-term changes will depend a lot on what is finally agreed upon in the infrastructure bill. But we can hope to see more reliable water service that is geared up for a world dealing with climate change. Read more about the challenges of climate change.
No matter what, the infrastructure improvements won’t happen overnight.
It’s estimated that there are between 6 to 10 million lead service lines in the U.S., and by 2019, utilities were only replacing between 1 – 4.8% of their pipelines per year on average (Source). Even if the replacements increase with this bill, it will still take decades to clear out those service lines.
What can you do to protect yourself and your family right now?
While we wait for the lawmakers to decide what to do, here are two steps you can take to protect yourself and your family right now from contamination, boil alerts, service issues, power outages, and more.
- Purify water at home. Protect yourself and your family from contaminants like lead with your own home water distillation system. You also won’t have to worry about boil alerts, as boiling is built in to the distillation process.
- Always keep some extra water on hand for emergencies. If you have an automatic home water distiller with a storage tank, you’ve got a built-in emergency water supply. If you don’t have an automatic unit, make sure you have extra jars or bottles full of distilled water so that you always have more than enough on hand.
Don’t have a home water distiller? Shop now.
Questions? Please email us at info@MyPureWater.com. Thanks!