Imagine a Day Without Water

Our friends at the US Water Alliance are marking Imagine a Day Without Water this Thursday, and that’s both a great thing, and a terrible one. Great because the US Water Alliance, a powerful group of utilities, NGO’s, businesses and funders, is pushing hard for two critical goals: 1. To increase public and private investment in water infrastructure, and 2. Ensure that water is affordable, reliable and accessible to all communities and businesses.

It’s terrible because the fact is that many communities don’t have to imagine a day without water. For many communities a day without water has been a reality for some time. From Flint, Michigan to the Central Valley of California to the Navajo Nation, low-income communities of color are living with life-threatening water contamination and shortages.

Now that more mainstream organizations are catching up with this reality, we want to add our voices to the chorus for water justice. Prioritizing those communities and their needs first is the right thing to do, and it’s especially important that their needs not be skipped over again in a rush to a national conversation about infrastructure. For the immediate term that means three things:

  1. Support the Flint federal legislation
  2. Support the great work of the Community Water Center in California, working for multi-benefit solutions across the state
  3. Support Superfund designation for contaminated mines like Gold King across the West

Infrastructure investments must be run through a climate-smart lens. Examples of this kind of planning include the Mountain Accord in Utah and the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan in Washington. These kinds of grand bargains are hard to strike. They require strange bedfellows, major investment, and serious perseverance. They  are good examples of the kind of broad-impact investments that will not only address water scarcity, but also build bridges across communities that will support a resilient future.

Carpe Diem!

Kimery Wiltshire

Kimery Wiltshire
September 14, 2016

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