The Challenge Ahead

If there’s a silver lining in these uncertain economic times, it’s the fact that we tend to focus more on things of real and lasting value.

Our water system is one such thing. Only tap water delivers public health protection, fire protection, support for the economy and the quality of life we enjoy. And in these tight times, reinvesting in our tap water system can even deliver new jobs. At LCMUA, our immediate needs include an expansion of the North Pump Station on West Shady Shores Rd, expansion to Lift Station 7 on N Shady Shores Dr and associated force mains, and replacement of various undersized water and wastewater mains throughout the service area. Find the Capital Improvement Plan for LCMUA here.

These are uncertain times for most of us. Home values have increased, resulting in increased property taxes, while income levels have remained stagnant. We are cautious about how we spend our money. As individuals and communities, today we demand a solid “return on investment” for each dollar we spend. That’s exactly what we earn when we invest in our water systems. In fact, a 2008 study by the U.S. Conference of Mayors showed that for every dollar invested in public water and wastewater infrastructure and services, approximately $8.97 is added to the national economy. The clean energy advocacy group Green for All, estimates that water and wastewater infrastructure investment could create 1.9 million jobs in the United States and add $265 billion to the economy.

But it’s difficult to capture the full value of our water system in dollars and cents. How do we measure the value of public health protection? Our water system keep us healthy and hydrated by delivering water that surpasses some of the world’s most stringent quality standards. And it does this in an environmentally friendly way, for less than one-thousandth of the typical cost of bottled water. For the cost of a typical 20-ounce bottle of bottled water, one could fill up the same container for more than a year with LCMUA tap water. While we don’t often think of it, our tap water systems also deliver fire protection, keeping life-saving water flowing at the right pressure to help firefighters do their heroic work. A well maintained water system reduces the threat of fire and keeps insurance rates in check.

As difficult as these days can be, imagine a day without safe water to prop up our businesses. How many of the everyday products we use, from juices, to toothpaste, to coffee, have tap water as their central ingredient? Investing in water systems also has the added benefit of creating jobs across many industries. Water infrastructure projects involve engineering, pipe and valve manufacturing, concrete and construction work, and more. Investing in our tap water systems is a smart, safe, common sense investment that will pay off for generations to come. As it turns out, what’s good for our health and safety is also good for the Lake Cities economy.

We are all stewards of the water infrastructure and resources previous generations handed down to us. Our water bills pay for both the stewardship of water resources and processes required to deliver safe and sustainable water.
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