By Eric Herman
If you’re like most people, you probably don’t give much thought to where the water we drink originates. Our supplies of this precious commodity are so reliable, ample and safe that we mostly just go to the tap and use what we need.
I was once that carefree, but no more. As I see it, ignorant bliss is actually inexcusable these days, not only because each of us needs a ready supply of potable water to survive and maintain the quality of our lives, but also because so many of us live in places where water scarcity is becoming an issue.
I also recognize that, at root, this magazine is about water – and that almost everything we do and you do assumes its ubiquitous availability. Usually, in fact, it takes serious threats of usage restrictions to prompt us to think about water on the grand scale in any sort of detailed or meaningful way.
It’s time to change all that. As any of you who follow the magazine probably know by now, we’ve started covering “green” topics in more frequent and deliberate ways in the past year or so, using our October 2009 “True Green” issue in particular to delve into design solutions and issues related to increased environmental awareness.
Frankly, I find all of this information fascinating – a thread as thought-provoking as any we’ve ever woven into our pages. This month, as an example, you’ll find an article entitled “Replenishing the Supply,” which I wrote myself after visiting a major water-treatment facility last summer. I won’t steal my own thunder by saying much more than if you’re interested in watershaping on a truly monumental (even mind-blowing) scale, this feature’s just for you.
In preparing to write the article, I uncovered points of interest that didn’t make their way into the text. I was, for instance, stunned to learn that our nation’s 300-million-plus population is served by more than 156,000 separate public-water systems, all of them operating under standards first established in the Clean Water Act of 1972.
More amazing still is the fact that, even in these times when you can’t help noticing that our infrastructure could use some help, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that more than 96 percent of all public-water utilities in the nation operate in full accordance with those standards. That’s not perfect, of course, but given all of the challenges faced by our water supplies, it’s truly a marvelous accomplishment.
As I see it, we in the Watershaping Industry would all do well to know more about our chosen medium and its role as one of our most precious resources. Doing so, I think, will influence the way you think about, work with and manage water in your projects and put you in a better position to answer your clients’ increasingly persistent questions.
Sorry if this has tripped you up.