From the Madison Water Utility
Let’s be honest, our water infrastructure is something most of us never think about. We take it for granted that we can turn the tap and fill a glass, make coffee or give the dog a drink. We shower, fish, swim, eat fresh fruit and vegetables, flush our toilets and rely on fire hydrants without ever thinking about how the water gets to where it needs to be. Or what we might do if our water were to become unusable.
Our water and wastewater systems are underground, out of sight and out of mind. But they work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, to bring clean, safe water to us and take it away for treatment after we use it, safely releasing it back into the environment. Unlike the potholed roads you see on your daily commute, these systems – many of which were built for the America of a century ago – don’t show their age as easily.
The Madison area is lucky enough to have a safe and abundant water supply, but the reality is that we are not immune to changes in our climate or the deterioration of our water and wastewater systems. Just as the systems which bring and take away our water are invisible, so too are many of the efforts that our municipalities, utilities and citizen groups are undertaking to promote water sustainability. Water conservation measures are paying off – last year, the Utility pumped less water than it has since 1968. The Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District reclaims 40 million gallons of clean water each day and has installed a phosphorus harvesting system to remove, pelletize and export phosphorus.
Our utilities, officials and citizen groups recognize that protecting our water is something that we all need to work on together because water is not replaceable. In the spring we will celebrate the United Nation’s World Water Day with activities throughout Dane County to inform and help residents take action. Right now we ask only that you stop and consider how important this precious resource is in every aspect of your life and appreciate that, for now, we do not have to worry about the safety or security of our water and wastewater systems.