Daily Herald: Letter to the Editor, "Imagine a Day without Water"
Mariyana Spyropoulos, Commissioner, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
Living on Lake Michigan, water feels like an almost endless resource, which is why the average person doesn't think about the complex and important infrastructure involved in ensuring water comes out of the tap each day. We turn on the shower and water comes out. We flush the toilet and water goes away. For most of us, it's as simple as that.
But have you really thought about how critical this process is?
October 21 is the annual Imagine a Day Without Water, where people across the United States engage in opportunities to learn about our nation's water systems and the hard work that goes into ensuring a day without water doesn't become a reality in our communities.
The fact is that much of the water infrastructure in Cook County's municipalities is well past its useful life, and some is more than a century old. This infrastructure simply can't handle the waste and stormwater that we need it to. On top of that, Illinois has the most lead water pipes of any state in the nation.
Regardless of these challenges, we believe a better future is possible.
According to the 2021 Annual Value of Water Index, a reliable water supply is the highest federal priority for voters. Together, we can urge public officials to take responsibility for and invest in our water today and tomorrow.
Two years ago, the Illinois legislature passed a massive capital bill that included millions for storm and sewer water infrastructure improvements, an important and significant step in protecting our water delivery system. Now, the Biden administration has proposed and the Senate has passed a $1 trillion infrastructure plan, including funds for improvements to water infrastructure. Water is the lifeline of our communities. We can't wait for a crisis to happen before making the necessary investments.