Okatie, SC (September 30, 2020) – Communities face a variety of water-related challenges – from drought and flooding to infrastructure failure, sewer overflows, poor water quality and climate change. Now – add a global pandemic. On October 21, Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority (BJWSA) will participate in Imagine a Day without Water, an effort to educate the public about the water infrastructure crisis currently facing the United States.
Organized by the Value of Water Coalition, hundreds of organizations across the country seek to raise awareness about the crucial need for investment in water and the infrastructure that brings it to homes and businesses.
Most people can take for granted that when they turn on the tap, or flush the toilet, water systems function exactly as intended. However, the systems that provide critical water and wastewater services are aging, and we need to take action before it gets worse. In a normal year, a day without water is nothing short of a crisis. In the age of COVID-19, it could be catastrophe.
“Here in the Lowcountry, maintaining the critical infrastructure of our water system provides many challenges,” said Joe Mantua, general manager for BJWSA. “But our mission – to inspire trust and enhance public health – drives everything we do for our customers to ensure they have a safe, reliable water supply. Dealing with COVID-19 has certainly fostered a universal appreciation for the importance of clean water and sanitation.”
Public attention on infrastructure typically focuses on the things one sees every day, such as roads, bridges and tunnels. Yet the hidden infrastructure of water and wastewater is actually far more expansive than the highway system. Moreover, while the interstate system was built in the late twentieth century, many water systems were built in the 1800s or early 1900s.
Now those systems are showing the effects of a century or more of running constantly. Without further investments, these systems will experience more frequent failures and disruptions as they try to keep up with the needs of both the modern metropolises and rural and agricultural areas they serve. At BJWSA, many current and future projects are aimed at predictive and proactive maintenance. Water and sewer plant expansions, waterline replacements, sewer diversions and cellular metering technology are only a few.
BJWSA invites customers to engage on their website (www.bjwsa.org/idww ) and Facebook page, downloading a Water Awareness Journal or reporting their observations on the campaign to Public Education and Engagement Planner Lou Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority is a public water system and non-profit corporation handling water and wastewater operations in Beaufort and Jasper counties in South Carolina. BJWSA treats an average of 39 million gallons of water for consumption and 9 million gallons of wastewater daily.
The Value of Water Coalition is a group of thirty water and wastewater providers, water-reliant businesses and policy organizations dedicated to educating and inspiring the nation about how water is essential and in need of investment. The Value of Water Coalition is coordinated by the US Water Alliance, a national non-profit dedicated to securing a sustainable water future for all.