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Clean-Water Advocates Ask: Imagine a Day Without Water

The U.S. Water Alliance is launching a public awareness campaign today called "Imagine a Day Without Water." (Earl53/Morguefile)
The U.S. Water Alliance is launching a public awareness campaign today called "Imagine a Day Without Water." (Earl53/Morguefile)
September 15, 2016

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — More than 500 groups from around the country are launching a national campaign on Thursday called "Imagine a Day Without Water."

The campaign was designed to encourage all Americans to consider the importance of the drinking water and wastewater systems in the U.S. - especially in light of the drought in the West and the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

Radhika Fox, CEO of the U.S. Water Alliance and director at the Value of Water Coalition, said the country's aging water infrastructure needs serious attention.

"Most Americans can take water for granted. They can turn on the tap and flush the toilet and not think about it anymore,” Fox said. "But the communities are increasingly facing a number of water challenges and so we really want to highlight that and call for investment in our nation's water system."

Water districts across the state are working hard to conserve. The $1 billion Carlsbad Desalination Project near San Diego, which opened in December 2015, can provide 50 million gallons of drinking water per day. And the city of Santa Clara in the Silicon Valley now has a recycled water plant.

Michael Carlin, deputy general manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, said they're spending $4.6 billion to upgrade the water system there to make it more earthquake resistant. And they're continuing to promote the message of reducing water waste.

"We were in a very severe drought in the past couple of years. Our water use is still down twenty percent where people are conserving twenty percent over the base year,” Carlin said. "We like to say it's the new normal."

Fox noted that the average American uses 176 gallons of water per day. And leaky pipes cause the loss of more than 1.7 trillion gallons of drinking water every year.

A petition asking lawmakers to prioritize water issues is available here.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA