Imagine waking up in the morning to find the tap has gone dry. What would you miss most? Your morning cup of coffee? A hot shower? Cooking your favorite meal? Whatever you’d miss most, the reality is that for the 1.7 million residents of Hampton Roads, access to clean, reliable tap water is as simple as turning on the tap. Water and wastewater services are one of the most reliable public services and we depend on these systems for growing our food, running our schools and hospitals, and fueling the economy and local entrepreneurship.
Small, independently owned coffee shops and breweries in Hampton Roads rely on tap water every day. Water makes up 95 to 99 percent of every cup of coffee they pour or beer they craft. askHRgreen.org has partnered with local coffee shops and breweries to recognize the national “Imagine a Day Without Water” campaign. On Wednesday, Oct. 23, participating locations will be distributing limited-edition coffee sleeves for coffee and coasters for beer to remind guests that without Hampton Roads tap water there would be no coffee, no beer. Coffee shops and breweries in Hampton Roads can sign up here to be a part of this special promotion.
But it’s more than water, it’s also the people needed to operate and maintain these systems, as well as the often unseen network of pipes and equipment that carry water to and from our homes. Beneath our cities, there is a vast amount of infrastructure — more than 6,500 miles of water distribution pipeline and 5,800 miles of sanitary sewer lines throughout Hampton Roads. These systems, and the people who maintain them, work silently and reliably to keep the water flowing. Because they are out of sight, we often take them for granted, but their proper maintenance is essential.
As our water and sewer pipes age, it’s important that municipalities plan ahead to upgrade and replace this critical infrastructure. Throughout Hampton Roads, our citizens can currently see the return on their investments with ongoing water and sanitary sewer construction projects. Although many of these systems were built to last many decades, it’s important to keep up the momentum as communities grow and pipes approach the end of their expected serviceability.
Good To Do:
- Don’t take water for granted. Water is life. The water we have now is all we’ll ever have, so we must use it wisely. Fix household leaks that waste water. Responsible water use makes a big difference to preserve and protect our water resources.
- Protect our wastewater collection systems from blockages. Your home’s plumbing and the municipal wastewater collection systems can clog when not used properly. Sewer backups are unpleasant and simple practices can avoid major problems for you and your neighbors. Take care and avoid costly visits from a plumber. Do not put grease down the drain. Dispose of paper towels, wipes, feminine hygiene products, etc. in the trash where they belong.
- Stay informed about water quality issues. Learn more about what happens to the water you drink and use. Start by reading and understanding your locality’s annual water quality report: Chesapeake, Franklin, Gloucester, Hampton, Isle of Wight, James City County, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Smithfield, Southampton County, Suffolk, Surry County, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg, and York County.