The alarm rings and we begrudgingly roll out of bed. First stop…the kitchen.
Top off the water reservoir and turn on the espresso machine.
Feed the cat; soften the kibble with a little bit of water.
Start a pot of oatmeal for breakfast; that takes two more cups of water.
Plod to the bathroom, cappuccino in hand, for a quick 5-minute shower; there goes another 10 gallons of water.
We haven’t been up for an hour yet but virtually everything we have done has required a good flow of H2O spilling out of the tap.
Why have I done this mental exercise? A few weeks ago, Chuck and I went behind the scenes to tour our local surface water treatment plant. (One of the operations that replaced the beautiful temple I wrote about last week.) The facility generally isn’t open to the public but it was ‘Imagine a Day Without Water‘ day so they proudly opened their doors to a select few of us that signed up early. (In these days of heightened security, we were all subject to a background check two weeks prior to being authorized to take the tour but, unsurprisingly to us, Chuck and I passed muster.)
We arrived at our scheduled time and got bused over to the treatment plant where we were greeted by a host of smiling workers, most of whom had come in on their day off, excited to educate us about what they do and the quality of our local water. There were booths set up with hands-on displays that demonstrated all sorts of things such as how pollutants can work their way great distances from where they were spilled through underground aquifers, how our surface water is captured and gravity fed into the plant thereby creating enough power to operate the plant and sell surplus energy back to the grid, and how the local desalinization plant works to take sea salt out of local groundwater. It was fascinating! We were learning so much and we hadn’t even left the parking lot and started the tour yet!
Once we headed inside, we got to see the entire process in action. We saw how they test and monitor water at all stages of filtration. We learned how they make ozone on sight to use in the cleansing process and then recapture it so it doesn’t impact the environment. We saw the settling tanks where particulates were filtered out of the raw water as well as how the filter beds get cleaned.
It was an impressive tour from start to finish. And perhaps even more rewarding than seeing the operation itself was the obvious pride that poured forth from the workers as they each spoke about their part in the process. It was very clear that these folks take immense pride in what they do. And, as users of their product, we are grateful for that.
We left the tour and the facility feeling really good about our local water. The workers pride rubbed off on us and we were equally proud to be able to say what a great job our local facility does, not just with water quality but also with reducing waste, making renewal energy and reducing our city’s carbon footprint.
Tomorrow morning when you roll out of bed, try to imagine what your day would look like without water. If there is an opportunity in your area, take the tour and see for yourself how your water gets treated and arrives at your tap. You just may find it as fascinating as we did.
As the complimentary water bottle we each left with says, “There Is Never Enough Water to Waste.”