United Water Marks Drinking Water Week, Touts Infrastructure Solutions

United Water Marks Drinking Water Week, Touts Infrastructure Solutions

May 4 -10 is Drinking Water Week; a week to raise awareness about the vital role water plays in our daily lives. And public awareness is greatly needed around this topic. Reports continually show that we, as Americans, take safe tap water for granted. No one expects to be without water – not even for a few hours or to face the inconvenience that a ruptured main or repair work can cause. Yet, few are eager to pay for upgrades to water infrastructure; in tax dollars or on a utility bill. For decades, governments at all levels have passed the buck on water infrastructure upgrades. Because of these deferred investment the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) currently grades the nation’s water infrastructure a “D+”, meaning there is a “strong risk of failure.” The ASCE puts a $1 trillion price tag on bringing water mains up to standard over the next 25 years. Yet the story of our nation’s infrastructure is not all doom and gloom. United Water is embarking on an ambitious program to invest nearly $1 billion in our own infrastructure over the next 5 years. And we have recently launched a program for cities, SOLUTION, which will make similarly high levels of investment available to cities who chose to partner with United Water and leverage private capital to meet their needs. After all, the cost to communities of neglected water infrastructure is not just a financial one. Poorly maintained systems will turn back the clock on decades of progress in public health standards – and raise health...

Preserving water for a sustainable future: A shocking amount of water is lost to leaky pipes

Aging water infrastructure and the resulting water loss is a prevailing problem throughout the nation.  Estimates show that 700 Billion – with a B – gallons a year of safe drinkable water is lost nationally to leaky pipes.  Leaky pipes contribute to billions of dollars – an estimate of $2.6 billion — in lost treated water. We were in Austin, Texas this week for SXSW Eco to talk about transparency, communications, open data and other innovative approaches to managing environmental challenges and our most precious natural resource – water.  These were seemingly appropriate discussions to be held in Austin during a time that the city is amidst its worst drought on record. We read an article last month that uncovered that the City of Austin, TX loses more than 3 billion gallons of water each year due to leaky or broken pipes – a number made even more alarming during this period of drought. Of course one piece of the answer is to replace or reline these pipes, which would require a multimillion dollar investment for a city the size of Austin.  Similarly, in the areas where we operate, United Water will invest millions of millions of dollars over the next several years to reline or replace leaky and aging water infrastructure. In addition, our non-revenue water or “water preservation” program is another piece of the answer. Our program has been key in “preserving” lost water in our extensive piping systems that distribute clean and safe water, and in identifying targeted areas for improvement. We started by analyzing lost water:  losses can be real losses, due to leaks, or...
Smart Irrigation Month: Outdoor Water Tips from United Water

Smart Irrigation Month: Outdoor Water Tips from United Water

July is Smart Irrigation Month. During one of the hottest months of the year, United Water is partnering with the Irrigation Association to promote efficient irrigation and increase awareness of the value of water. Hot temperatures usually lead to spikes in residential, commercial and agricultural water consumption. But, by being smart about water usage, customers can guard against seeing spikes in their utility bills while protecting the environment.  A win-win! Here are some tips for using water wisely during unusually hot weather: SMART PLANTING Choose plants with low water requirements that are suited to your local climate. Keep your soil healthy by adding compost or fertilizer to improve moisture retention. Using 2-4 inches of mulch improves water penetration and helps control weeds. “Hydro-zone” your yard by grouping plants with similar moisture needs in the same area. Plant in spring or fall because planting in summer requires more water to establish the plant’s life. Only plant grass where it will be used and enjoyed. Plant shade trees where possible to reduce soil evaporation. SMART WATERING Schedule the watering of each “zone” to account for sun, shade, and wind exposure. Water your plants – not the sidewalk. Avoid watering during the hottest part of the day. Water when the sun is down and temperatures are cool. Water more often, for shorter intervals so the soil can absorb the water. SMART MAINTAINENCE Inspect your irrigation system monthly for leaks and other problems. Install a rain shut-off switch to prevent watering when unnecessary. Winterize your irrigation systems to flush out water that could cause pipe breaks....

Save Water – One Step At A Time

    Did you know that by 2050 our global need for water will double? In the US alone, the average American pours, flushes, and sprinkles 40 to 130 gallons of water at home a day. By taking simple steps every one of us could reduce our water consumption by 30 percent? For United Water’s 5.7 million customers, that’s an average savings of 185 million gallons. Every day! That challenge and the simple ways we could address it, is why we encourage our customers, partners, vendors, suppliers and employees to conserve water and use it wisely every day. We have partnered with leading water conservation agencies including the EPA to promote responsible water usage as a part of its WaterSense program.  Check out the website. It has a ton of great resources – a quiz to test your WaterSense, water savings calculator, local rebates etc. Meanwhile, here are a few things you can do daily to save water: Do not let the water run while shaving or brushing teeth. Take short showers instead of tub baths. Turn off the water while soaping or shampooing. If you must use a tub, close the drain before turning on the water and fill the tub only half full. Bathe small children together. Never use your toilet as a wastebasket. Keep drinking water in the refrigerator instead of letting the faucet run until the water is cool. Wash fruits and vegetables in a basin. Use a vegetable brush. Do not use water to defrost frozen foods; thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Scrape, rather than rinse, dishes before loading into the dishwasher; wash only...