Water = Life
Speaking from a scientific point of view, without water there can be no life. As plumbers, we play a special role in that equation. With all of the conservation regulations there are still great concerns that in the future there will be water shortages. It is our role to do what we can to slow that down here in Massachusetts.
In the 30 plus years that I have been in the business I have seen us go from, for instance, 3.5 gallon toilets to 1.6 gallons and even flushometers that only use about a pint of water. I believe that most of us also had concerns that the sewer infrastructure would need most of that additional water to move the sewage through the systems. Which in some places its true.
But more alarming is the real fact that some world cities are facing the possibility of running out of water. Capetown South Africa is most likely the one that is closest. It seems that at some point this summer the may shut the taps off to millions of people. Almost unthinkable but true.
At Local 12 we have been involved in many water reuse systems that have been installed in some large projects. In fact, there is one being installed at the Wynn Casino project in Everett as we speak. There are also working systems downtown where all of the water for the water closets and urinals as well as landscaping are provided by rain water reuse systems.
The plight of Capetown compelled me recently to attend a Massachusetts Plumbing Board meeting and bring up for discussion the use of the IAPMO UPC Code sections dealing with these issues. To my surprise the board had been working on the issues and put out their own draft regulations, that they have since adopted, on water reuse and rain water collection systems. They did a great job and should be commended for their foresight.
It may not be today but I believe that in the near future we will see these systems installed right down to the single-family home. More importantly the work should be done by the licensed plumber.
These regulations are well thought out and come at the right time. The plumbing industry has been there all along doing the right thing to protect our most precious resource. But as most of us still see more and more municipalities declaring water emergencies throughout the commonwealth all throughout the year.
If all of this conservation is going on why are there these apparent shortages? We have done our part as an industry but there are many issues with the aging infrastructure that distributes the water that we install. There are also issues with runoff as we continuously develop the area.
There is a great bill at the State House filed by Rep. Chris Walsh of Framingham that will mandate water reuse systems in housing projects that are over a certain amount. There are many of these projects out there and bills like this need to be taken seriously if we are going to try as an industry to make sure that future generations have the water they need.
We have responded as Plumbers in every way to protect and conserve our water but we need to continue in this direction. There is a quote attributed to Mark Twain that says,
“Whiskey is for drinking but water is for fighting!”
Let’s continue to do our part,