Community will go with the flow

Published 9:00 am Monday, October 16, 2017

Americans take lots of things for granted but perhaps nothing as much as clean drinking water.

We walk to the sink, twist the handle and expect the life-giving liquid to come flowing out. We flush the toilet and don’t think twice about the waste products we no longer have to worry about.

Even if there is a problem at our homes, we head to the nearest store and buy prepackaged bottles of water for a few dollars.

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But, in many places in the world, it isn’t that easy.

Americans got an up-close look at this recently when Texas and Florida took massive damage from hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Puerto Rico continues to struggle to provide this basic necessity following the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

This should serve as a wake-up call for all of us. Think these are extreme examples that could never happen in Clark County? Think again. All you need to do is take a look at Flint, Michigan’s water crisis to realize this can happen anywhere in America.

Having a strong infrastructure to provide clean drinking water isn’t a luxury. It is vital to life. It is vital to health. It is vital to growth.

Here in Clark County, our water plant was built in 1891. The facility has seen a number of upgrades and expansions of course, but the original 12-inch water pipe that was installed 126 years ago is still in use today.

Winchester Municipal Utilities has been hard at work on plans to build a new plant. These have been finalized and the commission bid the project for construction soon. The project is estimated to cost about $30 million.

The plant will nearly double capacity, operate much more efficiently and increase the capacity of WMU to support economic development in the county.

These are exactly the kinds of infrastructure investments we must make in our community if we want to see progress and growth, allowing us to reach our greatest potential.

It all starts with that clear, odorless, flavorless liquid that is vital to life.