One of the most heartwarming experiences is to see a child learning to walk as they take their first steps toward their parents. They reach out anxiously toward those outstretched hands as they waddle forward and are hopeful their parents will catch them before they fall. The parents need to make sure those first steps are safe (thanks mom and dad)!
Learning to walk by ourselves is also one of the early lessons in life that has a hidden benefit of understanding how others can help us. We learn to count on those that deserve our trust.
Trust is something that is typically earned through time. Trust with positive results is essential when our lives count on basic needs such as our health, security, food, and water. Speaking of water, let’s talk about how trust plays a major role in our future potable water supply.
We trust the Lincoln Water System (LWS) to provide great quality water and our community is blessed with an ample supply of it. In fact, in 2010 Lincoln’s drinking water tied for 3rd place in a National AWWA Water Tasting Contest. We are blessed, but sadly enough, approximately 17% of the world, or 1.1 billion people do not have access to a safe water supply!
Historically LWS has performed well, but what about tomorrow? As a member of the LWS Stakeholder Committee, I have even greater respect and trust for LWS today by knowing they have a solid plan for tomorrow. There are approximately 17 of us on the LWS Stakeholder Committee that were given facts and figures to provide a better understanding of how LWS deals with some interesting challenges. LWS has done their homework!
LWS Stakeholder Committee’s goals include providing support for the development of a Master Plan by building consensus on issues related to water supply, reliability, and sustainability. We are encouraged to share information about water system assets, needs, and priorities to gain input from our community.
This sounds simple but it’s a huge undertaking to appreciate the size of the water system and plan for the future. Today, LWS is a $30M per year enterprise. It has over 1,200 miles of water main, 12,000 fire hydrants, and 24,000 valves. Over 115 miles of that water main is 80 to over 100 years old! The infrastructure replacement value today is $1.6B. That’s just the current system before we consider the challenges in the future.
The Master Plan for LWS needs to define system needs through 2060. What will the population be in 2060? How will the weather, pollution, and neighboring states affect our water supply? Those are questions to consider.
The good news is LWS has qualified professionals with a strong determination to meet the challenges. I feel good about the direction of LWS and its expertise. They will do everything they can to meet our water supply needs.
At the same time, a large part of the future of our water depends on how we respect it today. Each of us can play an important role in conservation and reducing pollution where possible. That trust falls squarely on our shoulders too.
Over half of our water consumption in the summer is used for watering lawns, shrubs, and gardens. Water can be conserved by planting native plants and low water use fescue. Sprinkler systems can also cut down on consumption with proper programming.
Inside the home, one of the biggest fixtures that consume water is the toilets. Water leaking from the toilet tank to the bowl often goes undetected. A little dye in the tank will turn up in the bowl if the toilet needs repairs. Of course, dripping faucets are easy to see and need to be repaired. Easy ways to conserve water in homes are with low flow showerheads and low water consumption toilets.
From a personal standpoint, trusting the LWS is important to me because so many I care about will be drinking their water. I want the best for my friends and family. Deb and I will be married 40 years on November 10th. She deserves to drink quality water after putting up with me for 40 years! Love you, Deb!
Our 12 grandchildren also deserve quality water. They will all drink from the water taps in Lincoln. I believe future generations will be fine because of the hard work and dedication of LWS today, we will have quality water in 2060!