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If you didn’t have water for a day, what would you miss most?

How a day (well, part of a day) without our most vital resource provided some unexpected perspective.

Like most people, I didn’t spend much time thinking about water before I started at Denver Water five years ago.

I turned on the faucet. Water came out. Life was good.

But when you spend most of your days talking about the importance of water, the complexity of its delivery and the people behind the scenes making the magic happen, you start to find water wherever you look.

And, after half a decade working in water, I assumed that I really thought about water, appreciated water and was more aware of water than most people.

Until the day I didn’t have it.

My husband woke up one recent morning and turned the faucet. Nothing. Not even a drop.

Turns out, we were starting our day with a front-row seat to a water pipe break in the street right in front of our house.

Crews from the City of Westminster, where we live, responded quickly, shut off the water and began their work. In the cold. In the snow.

We were only without water for about seven hours. But we learned a lot about how we use water in our home during this time.

#1 When someone says you can’t have something, it’s the only thing you can think about.

The first thing my husband commented on was how thirsty he was all of sudden. No water! What were we going to drink all day?

Thankfully we were able to fill up a few jugs at our neighbor’s house to get us through the most thirsty of those hours.

And, the coffee was already made for the morning. Crisis averted there.

#2 You realize how often you wash your hands.

Current COVID-19 protocols aside, we realized we wash our hands a lot! Before and after cooking, when cleaning up messes around the house and after using the restroom.

Every time we went to turn the faucet on to quickly rinse our hands, an audible “gahhhh” could be heard in our house.

A 7-gallon water container we use for camping trips and some friendly neighbors kept us stocked up on water to use for the day’s most essential water needs (primarily drinking and hand-washing). Photo credit: Denver Water.

 

#3 The dishes really pile up.

Due to the pandemic, my husband and I are currently working from home. And since we’ve moved to telework, the amount of dishes we dirty each day has probably quadrupled as we’re eating every meal at home and running the dishwasher daily.

We never really paid attention to the amount of dishes we were using — until we couldn’t wash them!

#4 We flush our toilets — a lot!

When there’s no water, you can only flush your toilet twice — once with the water already in the bowl and once using the water in the tank. After that, you’re out of luck.

#5 The dog likes to play in the snow, but he isn’t fond of drinking or eating it.

When you’re rationing water, you get creative.

We tried conserving by filling up the dog’s water bowl with snow. And although Chaco, our 4-year-old “variety pack” pup, loves to run and play in the snow, he was not amused to see it as his primary water source for the day.

Of course, you can’t say “no” to a cute puppy face, so we switched out the snow for water and he was much happier.

Chaco was not amused when we filled his water bowl with snow, and he was not interested in waiting for it to melt in order to take a drink. Photo credit: Denver Water.

 

All of this to say, even as someone who keeps water top-of-mind, I know I still take the fact that we have abundant, clean, safe water for granted.

I am grateful to the men and women who work hard day-in and day-out (and often in some pretty rough weather conditions) to make sure we all have safe, high-quality water.

Crews from Denver Water’s fellow water utility in the City of Westminster worked for seven hours in the snow to repair the leak and restore water to our home. Photo credit: Denver Water.

 

And a special shout-out to Denver Water’s fellow utility in the City of Westminster for responding quickly to stop the leak, repair the pipe and restore our water.

What about you? If you woke up tomorrow without water in your home, what would you miss the most?