A day without water? For many, no imagination required.

‘Imagine a Day Without Water’ reminds us of how lucky we are in this world of water worries.

September 15, 2016 | By: Jimmy Luthye

It’s time to dust the cobwebs off the ol’ imagination and think about what life would be like without its most critical compound (not beer).

Advertising graphic from Denver Water's "Nothing Replaces Water" campaign from 2001.
Advertising image from Denver Water’s 2001 “Nothing Replaces Water” campaign.

That’s right — time to “Imagine a Day Without Water,” as suggested by our friends at the Value of Water Coalition.

Over the years, we’ve definitely had our fun imagining life in Denver without the wet stuff. We’ve created advertising campaigns around the notion that “Nothing Replaces Water” (fun videos here, here and here), and I even sang a song about it.

For many people, however, the prospect of a day without water is less imagination, more harsh reality.

Consider the fact that nearly 700 million people in this world don’t have access to clean water, instead viewing activities like showering as luxuries existing only in dreams.

Since 1990, water.org has worked to pioneer safe water and sanitation solutions around the globe.
Image credit to water.org, an organization that pioneers safe water and sanitation solutions.

And water.org reminds us that more people on Earth have a cell phone than have a toilet. Mind-boggling.

Even developed countries like India are, at this very second, dealing with outright war over what boils down to fear of running out of water.

Now, while we’re more than fortunate to live where we do, the U.S. is certainly not immune to water worries.

There are protests in North Dakota over a new oil pipeline that threatens the local water supply.

The lead crisis in Flint, Michigan, triggered fears of a waterless reality for the town’s nearly 100,000 residents, but also sent cities across America to re-examine the lead pipes that could taint their water supplies.

And then there’s this other story out of East Porterville, California — a town that has been without running water for THREE YEARS.

Think about that. It’s 2016, we live in one of the most advanced countries on Earth, and yet, somehow, thousands of people in a small California town have been without running water since 2013.


Lake Success, near East Porterville, California, at 4 percent of its capacity in November 2014. Today it is filled to 8 percent of its capacity.
Lake Success, near East Porterville, California, at 4 percent of its capacity in November 2014. Today it is filled to 8 percent of its capacity. Photo credit to David Seibold, Flickr Creative Commons.

As the Los Angeles Times reports, California’s crippling drought of five years dried up the town’s wells, leaving the state responsible for delivering water bottles and large tanks of non-potable water to keep the town going.

East Porterville is finally on the road to recovery, with all 1,800 properties in town expected to be on a new water system by the end of 2017.

Still, this is a harrowing reminder that clean, safe running water is precious, and so many of us are guilty of taking it for granted every single day. I know I am.

As East Porterville resident Tania Ramirez put it, “It was kind of scary to know there was no water.”

Such a simple, powerful thought. Can you even imagine?

So, not just today — but especially today — take a second to remember just how valuable water is, how lucky we are to have it, and how crucial it is that we continue to protect, respect and invest in the most important substance in the universe.

“I love water because I love to 'drek' water!” Couldn't have said it better myself.
“I love water because I love to ‘drek’ water!” Truer words were never spoken.

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