Wednesday, March 5, 2014
If there's a silver lining following tough economic times, it's the fact that we tend to focus more on things of real and lasting value. Our tap water system is one such thing. Only tap water delivers public health protection, fire protection, support for the economy and the quality of life we enjoy. And in these tight times, reinvesting in our tap water system can even deliver new jobs to Mount Pleasant.
Here in Mount Pleasant, our immediate needs include repair and replacement of aging infrastructure, relocating lines to accommodate redevelopment along Coleman Boulevard, and extending lines to provide service to the growing north area.
As individuals and as communities, today we demand a solid “return on investment” for each dollar we spend.
That's exactly what we earn when we invest in our water systems.
In fact, a study by the U.S. Conference of Mayors showed that for every dollar invested in public water and wastewater infrastructure and services, approximately $8.97 is added to the national economy.
The clean energy advocacy group, Green for All, estimates that water and wastewater infrastructure investment could create 1.9 million jobs in the United States and add $265 billion to the economy.
But it's difficult to capture the full value of our water systems in dollars and cents. How do we measure the value of public health protection?
Our water systems keep us healthy and hydrated by delivering water that surpasses some of the most stringent quality standards.
And it does this in an environmentally friendly way and for much less than the typical cost of bottled water.
For those Mount Pleasant Waterworks customers who drink their recommended eight glasses of water per day straight from the tap, you pay 6 cents per month versus spending nearly $150 on bottled water all while protecting the environment.
While we don't often think of it, our water system also delivers fire protection, keeping life-saving water flowing at the right pressure to help firefighters do their heroic work. A well-maintained water system reduces the threat of fire and keeps insurance rates in check.
As difficult as these economic times are, imagine a day without safe tap water to prop up our businesses. How many of the everyday products we use – from juices, to toothpaste, to coffee – have tap water as their central ingredient?
Investing in water systems also has the added benefit of creating jobs across many industries.
Water infrastructure projects involve engineering, pipe and valve manufacturing, concrete and construction work and more. Here in Mount Pleasant, the Coleman Boulevard Redevelopment project alone has the potential to put hundreds of people to work.
Investing in our tap water system is a smart, safe, common sense investment that will pay off for generations to come. As it turns out, what's good for our health and safety is also good for Mount Pleasant.
Clay Duffie is the general manager of the Mount Pleasant Waterworks and has more than 30 years of experience in water and wastewater managament practices.