Chicago Sun-Times:  Letter to the Editor: Mariyana Spyropoulos

Using discarded water for non-drinking purposes would help us sustain our waterways.

Think about how many times you used water before noon today. Maybe you showered, had a cup of coffee or washed the dishes.

During all of that, did you ever question the cleanliness of the water or consider what you would do if the tap stopped flowing?

Oct. 23 is Imagine a Day Without Water 2019, a campaign to educate Americans about the value of water. But conserving and protecting the world’s water is a year-round task, made more serious by climate change and rising temperatures. Now is the time to take big steps to ensure clean, safe and healthy waterways, like water recycling.

No, there’s no container in the alley for used water, but we at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District see discarded water as an opportunity to reduce our water usage.

Incorporating discarded water into non-potable purposes has a tremendous impact on the sustainability of our waterways. That’s why I’m calling on businesses to evaluate their use of potable water and identify opportunities to incorporate discarded water.

For example, manufacturing and other industrial facilities don’t need clean water for cooling purposes. Golf courses and landscapers don’t need to water the greens with drinking water. Restaurants could use dish water for toilet flushing, and construction sites can control dust with used water.

The idea of re-using water might seem a bit extreme, but it’s actually a completely natural process that is part of the water cycle: Precipitation becomes groundwater in our lakes and streams, and groundwater evaporates back into the atmosphere to become precipitation again.

Small steps, like turning the water off when you brush your teeth, are important. But let’s consider big steps that can make a lasting impact.

Let’s encourage industries to follow nature’s lead and protect our water for future generations.

Mariyana Spyropoulos
Commissioner and former president
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District