Water is vital to all life on earth. Everyone knows that. Yet we often seem to take it for granted. It’s just there, so we use it. And boy, do we use it.
The average American shower lasts 8.2 minutes, according to homewaterworks.org. That adds up to 17.2 gallons of water. But that’s just the third largest water use in the average American home. In second, we have clothes washers, and in first, we have toilets.
That doesn’t count the water it takes to keep our lawns green, brush our teeth or, you know, drink so we can continue living.
Water has always seemed abundant. So for many, it was a shock to see that Wichita’s water treatment facility, which provides fresh water for 500,000 people in the metro, is on the edge of breaking down with little to no emergency plan in place.
According to the Wichita Eagle, the city’s emergency water supply plan has not been approved by the state and does not “define clear options for providing deliverance of treated, safe drinking water to its customers during an emergency.”
In the case of an emergency or a shut-down of the city’s water treatment facility, all the water we’ve come to rely on would trickle down to nothing.
The City of Derby is already considering building its own water treatment facility, but this would likely come at a cost to Derby residents. But water is always worth it. It’s always essential.
The problems we face here in Derby and Wichita are a microcosm of the growing scarcity of water worldwide. Part of this is due to climate change, but most of it has to do with a growing population, many of whom are beginning to tap into first-world conveniences like hot showers, washing machines and home irrigation.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), water scarcity could impact up to 270 million people by 2050, making it an urgent issue for governments today.
The New York Times recently reported that this scarcity is already sparking interest with investors, who are pouring money into companies responsible for delivering, testing and cleaning water.
Combined, all of these factors will lead to an increase in the cost of water for nearly everyone worldwide. A new water treatment facility on the Derby tax roll will likely just be a drop in the bucket.
So what can we do?
For starters, we have to ensure clean water can continue being delivered. If that takes Derby building its own treatment facility, so be it.
After that, we’re going to have to do our part in lessening our water usage unless we’re prepared to pony up for a higher price per gallon. Take shorter showers, wash clothes less frequently or maybe even forgo that nice, green lawn.
Remember, the most important use for water is survival.