With all the division in our government, it is easy to forget there are some policy priorities that actually cut across party lines and geographical boundaries. Constituents may have different opinions on health care and tax reform, but they have a lot in common too. We all get up in the morning and brush our teeth, use the bathroom, and make coffee. Many of us commute to school or work. We travel with our families on summer vacations and for holidays. We buy groceries and eat at restaurants.
When it comes to the essentials, we really do have more that unites us than divides us, which is why the majority of Americans want the federal government to prioritize investing in infrastructure. Earlier this year, voters were polled on what they wanted the federal government to focus on for a legislative agenda. By a double-digit margin, investment in infrastructure was the most important topic above any other issue. Two-thirds of voters said so. And an astonishing 82% of Americans said water infrastructure needed to be a top priority.
But if you think about it, water connects all of us. Of course, people say it should be a priority. Can you even begin to imagine a day without water? It isn't just your personal use of water - brushing your teeth, flushing your toilet, taking a shower - though those rituals are vital. Water is also essential to a functioning and thriving economy. What is a school or a hotel supposed to do if there is no water? They close. How can a restaurant, coffee shop, or brewery serve customers without water to cook, make coffee and beer, or wash the dishes? They can't. And what about manufacturers - from pharmaceuticals to automobiles - that rely on water? They would grind to a halt too.
An economic study released by the Value of Water Campaign earlier this year found that a single nationwide day without water service would put $43.5 billion of economic activity at risk. But investing in water infrastructure, unfortunately, has not been a priority for decades. The federal government's investment has greatly declined, leaving states, localities, and water utilities to make up the difference. This means it is on local government agencies to raise taxes, or for utilities to charge water rates that can pay for the robust infrastructure system of pumps, tanks, treatment facilities, and pipes. And the truth is, some communities across the country have let their systems deteriorate for far too long.
Here at Soquel Creek Water District, one of our primary organizational goals is to maintain a reliable water infrastructure to deliver high-quality, safe water to our customers. Aging pipelines, such as those on Clubhouse Drive, are currently getting replaced and we thank our customers in the nearby vicinity for their patience during construction which is scheduled to be completed in October.
There is no doubt about it - a day without water is a crisis. That is why we are joining with hundreds of groups across the U.S. to "Imagine a Day Without Water" on October 12th. Water is a public health issue as well as an economic issue. No community can thrive without water and every American deserves a safe, reliable, accessible water supply.
Help raise awareness about the value of water and enter our "Imagine a Day Without Water" Poster Contest! Open to all ages and entries are due October 2.
This month's column is a continuation piece from last month highlighting the importance of water and infrastructure. As always, if you have any questions about this month's topic, our Community Water Plan, or anything else related to Soquel Creek Water District, feel free to email Melanie Mow Schumacher at or call 831-475-8501, ext. 153.