Imagine waking up in the morning to find the tap has gone dry. What would you miss most? Your morning cup of coffee? A hot shower? Cooking your favorite meal? Whatever you’d miss most, the reality is that for the 1.7 million residents of Hampton Roads, access to clean, reliable tap water is as simple as turning on the tap. Water and wastewater services are one of the most reliable public services and we depend on these systems for growing our food, running our schools and hospitals, and fueling the economy and local entrepreneurship.
Local baristas and brewmasters rely on water daily. Water makes up 95 to 99 percent of every coffee or beer they craft. That’s why more than 15 local breweries and coffee shops are partnering with askHRgreen.org on October 10 to remind guests of the importance of Hampton Roads tap water. Partners will be distributing special-edition coffee sleeves and coasters, asking customers to envision drinking these beverages “WITH2OUT it.”
The event is part of the national advocacy and awareness promotion, “Imagine a Day Without Water.” It addresses the importance of maintaining the water and wastewater systems that bring a steady flow of water to and from residents, businesses, schools, hospitals and emergency outlets.
“This is a simple way to make a serious point—that we shouldn’t take water for granted,” said Katie Cullipher, askHRgreen.org team leader. “No water? No coffee or beer. But a day without water also means no bathing, brushing your teeth, flushing a commode or filling your dog’s water bowl.”
But it’s more than just water. It’s also the people needed to operate and maintain these systems, as well as the often unseen network of pipes and equipment that carry water to and from our homes. The region’s municipal water utilities support 12 drinking water treatment plants with over 50 wells and 21 reservoirs that store over 34 billion gallons of water. Then the municipal and HRSD wastewater systems take over using 1,500 pump stations to carry sewage to the 10 wastewater treatment plants across the region. All of this at work silently and reliably to keep the region’s 17 cities and counties humming, from hotels to hospitals, carwashes to aquariums, and coffee shops to breweries.
“While our region’s water and wastewater systems may be out of sight, they should not be out of mind,” said Cullipher. “They work 24/7/365 to bring clean water to us and take sewage away to be treated before it is released safely back into the environment.”
For a list of the participating coffee shops and breweries, visit www.askHRgreen.org/imagine. In addition to frequenting one of these businesses on Oct. 10, Hampton Roads residents can show their support year-round by adopting the following good-to-do practices: