Imagining Life Without Water
By Warren Tenney
Water is essential to all aspects of life. Water sustains families and communities. It supports economic productivity. And ultimately, water affects everything and everyone. It truly is the single most important resource. But imagine if it was gone. Life would look much different for all of us.
That was precisely how people across the country were challenged last week when Imagine A Day Without Water, was hosted by the Value of Water Campaign. In its fifth year, the day of action event is held to heighten awareness of not only the value of water in our daily lives, but also to highlight the importance of how we can protect that precious resource while ensuring municipalities across the United States are able to have the funding and support to continue to ensure the water keeps flowing into our homes, businesses, schools and hospitals.
On Imagine A Day Without Water we decided to really sit and think about how water is fully utilized, not just directly in our personal lives, but everywhere it plays a significant role. After some discussion and research, it quickly became evident that without water we wouldn’t be left with much at all.
Besides being vital for human survival, water is also necessary in health and public safety. Without water, firefighters could not do their jobs. Hospitals and medical facilities would be unsanitary. And no one could wash anything such as dirty dishes or clothes which would elevate the risk of sickness and disease.
Commercial operations within hotels, banks, stores and shopping centers would no longer be able to provide their services. Business as usual would grind to a halt and so would our growing economy here in the Valley. Restaurants could not cook or clean. Coffee shops would have empty pots. Parks, recreational and athletic fields, as well as all of our local golf courses would be dry, unhealthy and for the most part, unusable. Ice rinks would be bare and teams like our Coyotes would no longer exist. Roadways would become dirty and grimy. Our vehicles filthy. And office buildings, warehouses, public and private centers would also not be able to function properly without the availability of water, but it doesn’t stop there.
In industry, machinery relies on water to cool it to a temperature that allows the manufacturing process to keep going. Almost every manufactured product uses water during some part of the production process for such purposes as fabricating, washing, diluting, cooling, or transporting a product. Some industries that need water are those that produce such commodities as paper, plastics and rubber, electronics like our smart phones as well as oil and gas. For the fashion and textile industries, access to water is essential for cotton cultivation, textile dyeing and product finishing. The automotive manufacturing industry needs water for processes in production including surface treatment and coating, paint spray booths, washing and rinsing, cooling, air conditioning systems, and boiler use. The mining industry needs water to wash off the material that has been brought up from underground in order to sort out the genuine product from other particles.
Water is vital to the agriculture industry and production of all of our food including fruits, grains, vegetables as well as all packaged items. It is also an important component of meat and dairy production. The beverage sector which produces sodas, beers, juices, and other drinks also requires farmed products such as sugar, barley, coffee, chocolate, lemons, vanilla, and other plant-derived ingredients which require water to grow.
On a grand scale, the generation of electrical power also makes use of water to cool equipment and to push the turbines that are the heart of the process that produces electricity including the power created by the Palo Verde Generating Station that utilizes water provided by the Valley cities. Without power and water, our modern world would be unrecognizable and life here in the arid desert would be nearly impossible.
With all things considered, it’s easy to see that water is essential and invaluable. And our current way of living relies heavily upon the availability and reliability of clean water. The reality is that without water we cannot survive, much less thrive and that is something we don’t want to imagine.
For 50 years, Arizona Municipal Water Users Association has worked to protect our member cities’ ability to provide assured, safe and sustainable water supplies to their communities. For more water information visit www.amwua.org.
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