Author: Cieana Detloff
Yesterday was the start of #WaterWeek18! This week, we are all reminded about the critical role water plays in our daily lives as well as the role we have in sustaining our supply and making clean water accessible to people everywhere.
When we start to think about change, we look inward – often, it’s the only real starting point we have! We start by asking, “What can I do?”…and this is very powerful when we begin to collectively answer these questions to work on some solutions. So ‘turning inward’, I asked my team how they felt about Water Week, protecting our water supply, and the ‘small’ contributions they make.
Elisa Maenhout, Executive Assistant, is originally from Belgium, and she shared her initial surprise at the shear amount of plastic used here in the United States. “Throughout the year, I am invested in our environment,” explains Elisa. “Not only water, but recycling in general. We are very conscious about reusing plastic bags and using water wisely. In Belgium, we use a lot of rainwater, especially to flush our toilets. Not only do we save money on our water bill, but it is better for the environment. Rainwater is a lot softer than tap water, so you need less soap – which again results in taking care of our environment. We use rainwater for our grass and plants and also for our inflatable pool in our backyard during these hot summer days here in Tuscaloosa, AL. I explain to my children that we are responsible to not waste water just because when we open the tap, new water arrives. I tell my son that there are people who “clean” our water and it would be disrespectful to just change the pool every time we played in it. I’m so proud of him because now he tells his friends about not wasting water, and they start asking about the people who “clean the water”, where it comes from, and so on. I think it’s really important that we start having these kinds of conversations with our children because they will be tasked when they’re grown with the same responsibility of protecting the water supply.”
YES! I love it! And so does Charli K. Matthews – who participates in Water Week EVERY WEEK! “For me, the most important thing I can do is advocate for Water Reuse and Funding for Water Infrastructure,” shares Charli. “We have to support the people who take care of our drinking water every day! They need funding and resources to keep their pumping systems operating well and to keep their employees and maintenance personnel trained and up to date with current technologies – I was very happy to hear that Congress approved funding for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA), but I know that the work is not yet done. I’m looking forward to reporting on the momentum that continues this week with the National Water Policy Fly-In – so stay tuned for that!”
Carter Matthews, also looking inward, has committed himself to mindfulness while consuming the daily recommended amount of water. “We never use plastic water bottles, only refillable, so that plastic doesn’t end up in our water,” shares our eNewsletter Editor, Ashley Desmond. “Wipes get thrown away, not put down the toilet, and I garden with native Midwestern plants like purple cornflowers that don’t need extra water. By adding succulents, like sedums, along with mulch and ground cover, I can keep moisture in my garden so I don’t have to use as much water.”
Whether it’s changing personal habits or routines at home, or giving money to water-related charities, there are things YOU can do to participate in #WaterWeek18. Rebekah Mechtensimer, Digital Media Strategist, shared with our team the “I’m for Water” pledge – which is easy to do since the EPA provided a handy checklist that we can each put on the wall! Our Team is taking the pledge and we hope you will too!
And if you’re willing to take one more action, please reach out to your local government representatives. Write a letter, send an email, call them or tweet to them, telling them just how important access to clean water is and remind them of their duty to make water and water infrastructure a priority as we continue to make progress – together!