In an era where accessibility to advanced technology and luxury services is becoming an everyday expectation, it’s surprising to find that most people in the United States spend more on their monthly cable TV or cell phone subscriptions than their water bill. This stark contrast raises an important question: How much value do we place on clean drinking water, and what might we be willing to give up if it suddenly became more expensive?
Despite being the most essential resource for human survival, clean drinking water often falls under the radar in our financial planning. Perhaps, it’s because we’re so accustomed to its easy availability that we forget the true worth of this life-sustaining liquid. Let’s dive into the current state of water supply in the US and assess the real cost of clean drinking water to households.
Private Water Supplies: An Overlooked Expense
In the rural parts of the United States, and indeed in several regions globally, people rely on private water supplies as there is no access to public water supply. Approximately 15% of Americans draw from private water wells for their homes. These households use water pumped from underground sources on their property. It’s an off-the-grid solution, leaving homeowners without a water bill from any company. However, the lack of a bill doesn’t mean there’s no cost attached.
Maintaining private wells comes with its expenses, including the costs of installation, powering the equipment, regular testing for water quality, and any necessary treatments or repairs. Even though these expenses don’t come in the form of a monthly bill, they are just as real and often exceed the cost of public water services.
Taking Pennsylvania as an example, there are over 1 million private water wells in the state. The hidden costs associated with maintaining these private sources are rarely accounted for in a household’s monthly budget, yet they form an integral part of ensuring access to clean, safe drinking water.
What Would You Sacrifice for Clean Water?
Now, imagine if the cost of water increased significantly. Given its irreplaceable importance, it’s likely you’d find ways to cut costs elsewhere in your budget to continue accessing clean drinking water. Would it be your monthly cable TV subscription or the pricey cell phone plan that you’re willing to give up?
Undoubtedly, the answer varies across households, yet it poses a thought-provoking scenario for each of us. By comparing the costs of these different services, we are forced to reassess and realign our understanding of ‘value.’
Recognizing the True Value of Water
While it may seem disheartening to confront these potential sacrifices, it’s a necessary exercise to acknowledge the real value of clean drinking water. Whether it’s sourced from a private well or public service, it’s crucial to consider its worth not just in monetary terms, but also in terms of its indispensable role in our lives.
As our society continues to evolve and we become more interconnected through technology, let’s not forget the fundamental services that keep us alive and healthy. The next time you pay your water bill or the electricity to run your well pump, remember the priceless value of clean drinking water.
Perhaps, it’s time we stop taking water for granted and start giving it the financial and emotional appreciation it deserves. After all, without clean water, all the luxuries and comforts we enjoy today would mean very little.