Katie Johns is the managing editor of Storm Water Solutions. She can be reached at [email protected] 
Oct 11, 2021

Editorial Letter: Let's Value Water

This editorial letter originally appeared in SWS October 2021 issue as "Let's Value Water"

Katie Johns

Have you ever imagined a day without water?

It’s a question that gets asked a lot in this industry and in October, due to Imagine a Day Without Water being October 21. While it might seem repetitive to ask ourselves this every year, it isn’t. It’s a serious question — especially in a year when Lake Mead hit a historic low.

As of August 22, the lake was around 35% full. A few days prior to that, The Bureau of Reclamation announced the first water shortage for the lower Colorado River Basin. Additionally, Lake Powell, which is also fed by the Colorado River, hit a record low of being 32% full.

Because of this, some states were required to implement shortage reductions and water savings contributions, including Arizona and Nevada. Mexico was also put on shortage reductions. To put this in perspective, about 25 million people rely on Lake Mead for water, and some of that water is used for agriculture.

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So, as just one example, this is why we have to keep asking ourselves to imagine a day without water. The simplest tasks  — showering, making coffee, flushing the toilet — require water. But so do a lot of other tasks — the clothes you wear every day are made with water. While estimates vary, averages say that each person uses 80 to 100 gallons of water per day for indoor uses. To break it down even further, the average person uses 17.2 gallons of water every time they shower.

So, the next time someone asks you to imagine a day without water, give it a try. As water professionals, you probably think about it a lot, but I think you’ll be surprised at just how much of your daily life is driven by water usage. If we seriously imagine a day without water, it will make us work that much harder to make sure a day without water doesn’t become a reality.

About the author

Katie Johns is managing editor for Storm Water Solutions. Johns can be reached at [email protected]

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