VOORHEES, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The global theme for Earth Day 2013 is 'The Face of Climate Change,' and leading up to the April 22 observance, the Earth Day Network is seeking to raise awareness about the massive challenges that climate change presents, and about people and organizations stepping up to do something about it. American Water (NYSE: AWK), the nation’s largest publicly traded water and wastewater utility company, is one of those organizations.
The growing frequency and severity of extreme weather events is threatening the U.S. water system, causing poor water quality and scarcity, putting added strain on an already deteriorating water infrastructure, and jeopardizing reliability. Addressing these impacts is a priority for American Water, whose ongoing maintenance and upgrades are working to build a resilient infrastructure that can withstand major environmental stresses, whether it’s another Hurricane Sandy or widespread, record-breaking heat and drought.
“Delivering the water service our customers expect is our priority. This means identifying and implementing proactive solutions to ensure that communities have access to reliable water service year-round while continuing to be environmentally responsible, reduce our carbon footprint and maintain affordability,” said Dr. Mark LeChevallier, Director of Innovation and Environmental Stewardship at American Water.
American Water invests $800 million to $1 billion annually in its systems nationwide to ensure continued reliability and quality of service to its customers, even during periods of extreme weather. For example, in 2012, long-term planning and appropriate investment helped the company sustain operations in the parts of its Southern and Midwest service areas affected by the extreme drought in the summer, and when Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the East Coast, the company’s dedicated employees, preparations, and system enhancements kept the water flowing, even through widespread and sustained power outages.
In addition to water utilities planning and ensuring water systems are built to sustain service, consumers can also do their part.
“One of the biggest challenges facing the whole water industry is helping people appreciate the value of reliable water service, and that continuous system maintenance and upgrades must occur to ensure that water is available for homes, businesses and fire protection. Earth Day is the ideal time to convey the message that our most precious resource must not be under-valued or wasted,' said LeChevallier.
During this year's Earth Day celebrations, American Water is reminding consumers about their important role in preserving the sustainability of the nation's water supply, and offers the following tips to make every day Earth Day when it comes to water:
- Think about water. Everyone can do their part by simply supporting upgrades in water systems.
- Be conscious of your daily water use and take the necessary steps inside and outside your home to be water smart. Simple actions like turning off the tap while brushing your teeth or washing dishes, only running full loads in the clothes and dish washer, and using a broom instead of a hose to clean up outside walkways, can make a big difference. Also consider replacing old fixtures with water efficient ones, such as those with the EPA WaterSense label.
- Regularly check for leaking toilets, pipes and faucets — indoors and outdoors — and repair them promptly. American Water offers leak detection kits, which can be downloaded from the Learning Center of the company's website, www.amwater.com.
- Drink water wisely — keep a reusable bottle of tap water handy. Avoid purchasing bottled water; in addition to being more expensive and less stringently regulated as tap, it is less environmentally friendly. As many as 85 percent of plastic water bottles — an average of 38 million bottles a year — are sent to landfills rather than recycled, despite being made of recyclable materials, according to the Container Recycling Institute.
- Take care in the use and disposal of garden, lawn, garage or other home products and ensure that they do not find their way into groundwater.
- Dispose of unused or expired medicines properly. Do not pour them directly into home drains, the sewer, street drains or the lawn, and do not flush them down the toilet.
Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs approximately 6,700 dedicated professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to an estimated 14 million people in more than 30 states and parts of Canada. More information can be found at www.amwater.com.