How often do you think about your tap water?
Probably not often. Out of sight, out of mind, service on demand, 24/7/365 days per year and it’s as easy as turning on your tap. But did you know that this service is at risk? Much of today’s public water systems were built more than 50 years ago and little has been done to rebuild or replace this aging infrastructure. Because we’ve ‘kicked that can down the road’ for so many years, we now face a large problem of financing and rebuilding those systems before they fail.
The money for operating and maintaining your water system largely comes from rates. Unfortunately, those rates have not included the full cost of replacing the existing infrastructure. And long gone are the days that grants or tax monies are made available to solve this growing problem. This is why the cost of water is rising. In Clackamas County water remains relatively inexpensive. Delivered to you at under a penny per gallon, tap water is one of the best values in today’s market.
Tap water is an intricate part of our lives.
It is hard to imagine a day without using water. You only have to go without it for a short period to be reminded of its importance. Without water our lives are not only inconveniently interrupted but our public health is also threatened. The future of water requires us to think smart, use water wisely, and recognize the limits of this valuable resource.
In addition to using water to brush teeth, flush toilets, take showers, washing and cooking food, public drinking water also provides us with the following benefits:
Protecting Public Health
The first obligation of the Clackamas River Water Providers members is to provide water that is safe for consumption. In a world where 3 million people die each year from preventable water born diseases, our water systems allow you to drink from any public tap with a high assurance of safety.
A safe water supply is critical to protecting our public’s health.
Our community water supplies are tested every day. Tap water undergoes far more frequent testing than bottled water. Clackamas River Water Providers members monitor for more than 100 contaminants and must meet close to 90 regulations for water safety and quality. The water standards that we must meet are among the world’s most stringent. Without our modern water systems, diseases such as cholera and dysentery would be part of everyday life.
Supporting Our Economy
A safe, reliable water supply is central to the economic success of our communities. Public drinking water is critical to the day-to-day operations of businesses in Clackamas County, and to the viability of new commercial enterprises or residential developments. Businesses take into consideration the availability and quality of water when determining where to locate their offices or manufacturing facilities. A scarcity of water resources can hold up developments – commercial or residential – placing a strain on our local economies.
Quality of Life
Here in Clackamas County tap water is more than a convenience; it is central to our everyday lives. Any measure of a successful society is in some way related to the access of clean safe water. Otherwise… How would we shower or flush our toilets? How would we rinse our produce, clean dishes, wash clothes, water plants and landscapes, or wash our cars?
Well-maintained water systems are critical in protecting our communities from the threat of fire. In our communities, water flowing to fire hydrants and home faucets comes from the same system of water mains, pumps and storage tanks. A water system that provides reliable water at a high pressure and volume can be the difference between a manageable fire and an urban inferno. Firefighters are the primary users of fire hydrants, but your public water provider is responsible for maintaining the hydrants. Hydrant maintenance is supported by the money generated through your water bills.
When you consider the critical needs addressed by water service, public drinking water will always be a tremendous value. In fact, it will be a bargain. You simply cannot put a price on a service that delivers public health, quality of life, fire protection, and economic development. To download this information click here.
Learn more about the water infrastructure challenges and the value of water by watching these short videos or by visiting the following websites.
Watch EPA’s two and half minute video Water: What is it Worth to You? which describes how water and wastewater systems are important but undervalued, and how the public must take action to support the upgrades that our water infrastructure needs. Water: What it is Worth to You Video
or EPA’s Video Be aware, Be prepared, Protect Critical Water Infrastructure
Watch the Alliance for Water Efficiency’s three minute video Water: What You Pay For to find out what a typical residential water bill covers, and the costs of delivering a consistent, reliable flow of safe and affordable drinking water to your faucet. Water: What You Pay For video
The Value of Water Coalition.
The Coalition is made up of both public and private members of the water industry, who have come together at a time when our water infrastructure is at risk. Their goal is to educate the public on the importance of clean, safe, and reliable water to and from every home and community, and to help ensure quality water services for future generations www.thevalueofwater.org
The Association of Water Companies and the US Chamber of Commerce http://waterisyourbusiness.org/