Imagine a day without water.
Imagine not just the water you drink. Imagine all the water you use each day. How much water is that? Helix provides an average of 92 gallons of water per day to each of the 277,000 people we serve in east county. This is the water you use to flush your toilet, take a shower, cook, do laundry and water your landscape. What if your toilet didn’t flush this morning? Or you couldn’t take a shower?
But that’s not all the water you use each day.
When you stop at the gas station, note that it takes 3-6 gallons of water to produce one gallon of gasoline.
Then, when you stop for coffee, note that it takes 34 gallons of water to produce a cup of coffee. Almost all of that water is for irrigation.
And, each time you hop on the web, you’re calling on data centers to serve up the information you request. There are 800 data centers in California, filled with servers that give off heat. Every data center has a water-based cooling system to optimize interior temperatures for the servers. Amazon estimated in 2009 that a 15 megawatt data center uses up to 360,000 gallons of water per day.
If you grab a hamburger at lunch, note that it took about 660 gallons of water to make it. Most of that water was used to irrigate the alfalfa for the cattle. In California, and globally, agriculture accounts for about 80 percent of our total water use.
And, each time you turn a light on, note that almost 90 percent of electricity in the U.S. is produced by thermoelectric power plants that use coal or fossil fuels to boil water for steam to turn turbines. The plants use water to cool the steam — 133 billion gallons per day in 2015.
Our job at Helix Water District is to keep the water on at each coffee shop, restaurant, grocery store, school, office building and business in east county. It’s also our job to keep the water on at every fire hydrant, and at each hospital and clinic. This year brought with it an unprecedented emergency, and we kept the water on. In the 12 months ending in July, we treated and distributed over 14 billion gallons of water to our customers, we collected and analyzed 58,000 water samples, and we were 100% compliant with federal and state water quality standards.
Imagine a Day Without Water was created by the Value of Water Campaign to encourage us all to stop and think for a moment about the value of the water utilities and the vast water conveyance, storage, treatment and distribution systems we depend on.
If you don’t have a moment to spare today, that’s ok. Here at Helix, we’ll keep doing what we do, so you can keep doing what you do.