Posts Tagged ‘Value of water’

Your water bill is going up (slightly). Here’s why

That small increase helps us make big system upgrades, ensure water reliability and plan for future needs.

By Steve Snyder

 

Nobody likes to pay a bill.

No matter how much you like a service or how essential it may be, handing over your hard-earned money to somebody else — particularly if that bill often increases from year to year — is never fun.

But when it comes to your water bill, the simple fact is the cost of running a complex water system continues to rise. Your bill helps to maintain and upgrade a vast infrastructure that allows us to collect, treat and deliver safe, reliable water, while also providing for essential fire protection services.

You’ll see some slight increases in your water bill starting April 1, 2017. Here are the answers to three questions you may be asking:

  1. Why are you raising my rates?
crews placing concrete for storage tank at Hillcrest

Crews work to place the concrete floor of one of the new Hillcrest treated water storage tanks on Dec. 10. Denver Water is in the middle of a $100 million project to improve the safety and reliability of its Hillcrest facility by replacing two 15-million-gallon underground water storage tanks with three 15-million-gallon tanks, and a pump station.

We have a large, intricate system with a lot of aging infrastructure. With a 5-year, $1.3 billion capital plan, we’re staying on top of the upgrades and new projects needed to keep this system running.

(Watch the video at the top of the page to see the kinds of projects, like replacing failing underground storage tanks and aging pipes.)

To keep up with this necessary work, we are increasing the monthly fixed charge on your bill to help us even out our revenues over the year so we can repair and upgrade our system. This means less reliance on revenues from how much water customers use, which has become increasingly difficult to predict in recent years given the more frequent and extreme weather fluctuations.

  1. How much is my water bill going up?

That depends on the type of customer you are and how you use water. Your bill is comprised of a fixed monthly charge and charges for how much water you use.

Every customer will see an increase to their monthly fixed charge. If you’re like most residential customers who have a 3/4-inch meter, that charge will increase from $8.79 to $11.86 per month.

To help offset the fixed monthly charge, the charge per 1,000 gallons for many customers will see a small decrease in 2017.

Adding up those two elements, if you live in Denver and use 115,000 gallons of water a year in the same way you did in 2016, you can expect to see an annual increase of about $29, which averages out to a monthly increase of about $2.40 a month. (Summer bills are typically higher because of outdoor water use.)

If you live in the suburbs and get your water from one of our 66 distributors, your bill will be higher than Denver resident’s. That’s because the Denver City Charter requires that suburban customers pay the full cost of service, plus an additional amount.

  1. You ask me to use less water and then raise my rates. Am I being penalized for conservation?

We always encourage conservation and the efficient use of water. In fact, rates would be higher without our customers’ conservation efforts; we’d have to build more treatment and distribution facilities to keep up with the demand for water.

For example, your conservation efforts are saving Denver Water an estimated $155 million on a new treatment plant and storage facilities because it doesn’t have to be as big as we originally estimated. That’s $155 million we don’t have to recover through rates and charges.

No one likes paying higher bills, but consider the overall value of water. Most Denver Water customers will still pay about $3 for 1,000 gallons of water.

And while rates are going up, Denver Water is committed to keeping water affordable, particularly for the essential indoor water use that is vital for drinking, cooking and sanitation. In 2017, customers will continue to pay the lowest rate for what they use indoors.

 

If you’d like to talk over your bill with someone, contact Denver Water’s Customer Care team at 303-893-2444, and a representative will help you calculate your individual bill impacts, based on your personal water-use information.

No water, no Great American Beer Festival

Love a big stout or a tasty IPA? Every step of the brewing process requires one essential ingredient.

American Water Works Association reminds beer lovers of the importance of water with every sip.

American Water Works Association reminds beer lovers of the importance of water with every sip.

By Travis Thompson

Tickets sold out in just over an hour for 60,000 beer connoisseurs who will flood the Colorado Convention Center this weekend to taste some really good water.

You read that right. Water.

Since beer is 90 percent H2O, Great American Beer Festival participants will taste more than 3,500 samples of that familiar clear liquid, with a hoppy twist.

If you attend the festival, you’ll learn quite a bit about the brewing process. But if you can’t make it, we created our own version, highlighting, of course, the value of water:

Step 1: Beer needs barley. And barley needs water.

According to North Dakota State University’s Department of Plant Pathology, the average American drinking 20 gallons of beer per year consumes about 21 pounds of barley. Barley requires 15 to 17 inches of water for optimal crop production.

The brewing process begins by soaking malted barley in hot water.  

 

Step 2: Hops won’t hop without water.

During an average growing season, a hop field requires 20 to 30 inches of water. The amount of hops used in brewing depends on the type of beer you’re making. For a baseline, I turned to The Mad Fermentationist for an IPA (my personal favorite) recipe that uses 1 pound of hops for a 5.5-gallon batch.

Boil the malt with hops for seasoning.

 

Step 3: Water keeps it clean, so yeast can do its thing.

Sanitation is vital throughout the entire brewing process, and that of course requires water. But having a sterile environment for yeast to begin fermentation is “doubly important,” writes Chris Colby in a Beer & Wine Journal article.

Cool the solution and add yeast to begin fermentation.

 

Step 4: Water makes the cans, and cans hold the beer.

For starters, water is vital in the production process of making beer cans. And “the lining in cans is a water-based polymer that doesn’t interact with beer,” writes Jeff Wharton about the craft beer cans vs. bottles debate on DrinkCraftBeer.com.

Bottle (or can) the beer with a little bit of sugar to provide carbonation.

 

For beer lovers, the Great American Beer Festival is a dream come true, with more than 750 breweries pouring their favorites, from amber ales to stouts and flavored specialty beers.

Just remember, as our friends at American Water Works Association like to say: No water, no beer.

Scary thought, huh?

 

A message in a bottle

History behind Perrier’s ad campaign feat highlights some of our favorite messages.

Perrier began advertising in the U.S. in the late 1970s. Photo credit: Erik Charlton, Flickr Creative Commons

Perrier began advertising in the U.S. in the late 1970s. Photo credit: Erik Charlton, Flickr Creative Commons

By Sabrina Hall

Perrier is often synonymous with bottled water, and understandably so — after launching an advertising campaign in the late 1970s, Perrier’s success kicked off a new beverage trend that has only grown since then. It’s projected that by the end of this year or early next year, Americans will drink more bottled water than soda.

So it piqued our interest when we saw a recent article about Perrier’s historic ad campaign, “The ad campaign that convinced Americans to pay for water.” This article highlights some of our favorite messages.

  1. As we’ve explained to Jay Z, and despite the article’s title, water isn’t free. Perrier and other bottled water companies sell bottled water that costs up to 2,000 times more than tap water. Denver Water customers pay an average of less than $3 for 1,000 gallons of water. While tap water is a bargain to say the least, utilities must operate vast collection, treatment and distribution systems to deliver this water. It’s not free.
  2. The bottled vs. tap debate usually includes a lot of misinformation, especially when it comes to water quality and price. Last year, an opinion piece in The Washington Post about the lack of trust in drinking fountains spurred a Twitter chat on the benefits that safe, affordable tap water provide to the community.
  3. Forty-five percent of all bottled water in the U.S. comes from the tap. Every so often a story comes along expressing shock that bottled water companies use tap water as the source. We don’t see this as a scandalous topic, as we proudly supply safe, high-quality drinking water to more than 1.4 million people.
  4. Ad campaigns can change behavior around water. Perrier’s campaign changed how people consume water, and created a massive new market. Denver Water’s Use Only What You Need campaign successfully achieved a goal on the other end of the spectrum — customers reduced their water use by more than 20 percent in the last 15 years.

In the early 1900s, Perrier supplied Buckingham Palace with “the champagne of waters.” At the same time, across the pond, Denver Water was planning and developing a complex water system to serve a growing population. Fast-forward 100 years, and we’d like to think we also are serving the champagne of water. Our source, after all, is champagne powder.

Your water bill: Different path, same goals

The good, the bad and the confusing about next year’s water rates

This example shows what a bill would like for a customer in the city of Denver if their average winter consumption was 5,000 gallons and they used an additional 10,000 gallons one month.

This example shows what a bill would like for a customer in the city of Denver if their average winter consumption was 5,000 gallons and they used an additional 10,000 gallons one month.

By Travis Thompson

Imagine if we encouraged people to use as much water as they wanted, instead of only what they needed.

We’d have more money available to invest back into an aging and critical system that more than 1 million people — and counting — rely on for survival every day.

Alas, we don’t have that luxury. Coloradans know better. We can’t simply produce more water, so we will always have to use this precious resource efficiently — a fact recently underscored by the Colorado Water Plan.

But that reality also wreaks havoc on our cost-of-service financial system.

For the past 20 years, the way we’ve charged for water helped drive home the importance of conservation with one simple notion: The more you use, the more you pay.

We kept our fixed monthly charge very low, with a four-tiered consumption charge that increased with the amount of water you used. So a single-family residential customer in Denver paid $6.74 every month and then would pay from $2.75 up to $11.00 per 1,000 gallons, depending on the amount of water they used in each tier.

But a lot has changed in two decades. Our customers have adopted more efficient water use habits (that’s a good thing), cutting their average consumption by more than 20 percent in the last 10 years. And at the same time, our climate conditions have become far less predictable, creating more frequent, extreme weather. That means our revenue is inconsistent, making it harder to plan for and complete repairs and upgrades to our system.

So here’s the good, the bad and the confusing about your new water bill, coming April 2016:

The good: Three tiers, not four

The focus remains on efficient water use — we don’t have a choice in our semi-arid climate — by keeping a tiered structure that charges more for inefficient use.

Because water used indoors is for cooking, bathing, drinking and hygiene, we consider this to be essential for human life and assign this the lowest rate. So we’ll calculate your indoor use by taking your average winter consumption (when you’re not watering your lawn — we hope) to determine how much water you need indoors. Each month, the amount of water you use up to your average winter consumption will be charged at the lowest rate per 1,000 gallons.

That means, if you live in Denver and your average winter consumption is 5,000 gallons, you’ll pay $2.60 per 1,000 gallons up to 5,000 each month.

We also understand the value of having landscapes for gardens or kids and pets to play on. (It’s the reason we provide tools to help with this.) So customers will be allotted an additional 15,000 gallons — what it takes to water an average-sized yard efficiently — for outdoor use, which falls into a second, higher-priced tier at $4.68 per 1,000 gallons.

Anything above that will fall into the third, highest-priced tier at $6.24 per 1,000 gallons, as this is considered inefficient water use, such as over watering your landscape. The more you use, the more you pay. Sound familiar?

The following chart shows how the price per tier compares this year to last. You’ll also notice that the service charge is higher (more on that in a moment).

The average winter consumption (AWC) in the new structure will be determined by averaging the customer’s monthly water consumption on bills dated January, February and March, which is a way of determining essential indoor water use. Chart compares service charge for customers with a ¾-inch meter and tiers for residential customers in the city of Denver.

The average winter consumption (AWC) in the new structure will be determined by averaging the customer’s monthly water consumption on bills dated January, February and March, which is a way of determining essential indoor water use. Chart compares service charge for customers with a ¾-inch meter and tiers for residential customers in the city of Denver.

So does this mean your bill will be higher or lower? Bottom line: With the new individualized bills, it is completely dependent on how you use water.

The bad: Increases

In the past, when water use was low because of a rainy summer or one filled with drought restrictions, we relied on financial reserves to help make up that deficit. But we’re now seeing multiple years with extreme weather swings, causing more frequent dips in revenue. The result is a less reliable revenue stream for us, resulting in more variable rate increases for our customers.

Here’s the reality: The price to collect, store, treat and deliver water is based mostly on fixed costs. No matter how much water is used, we still need to maintain and operate more than 3,000 miles of distribution pipe, 19 reservoirs, 22 pump stations, 30 underground storage tanks, four treatment plants and much more.

That makes it difficult to keep up with these increasingly common revenue swings.

To provide more stability, we’ve raised the fixed monthly charge on residential water bills to $8.79, up from $6.74. This fee takes into account the stress put on the system, and the cost is dependent on meter size. That means larger, commercial users will be billed at a higher fixed monthly charge.

This chart shows that this fixed monthly charge is still among the lowest in the Front Range.

The higher fixed charge will be balanced out by the new tiered structure, where the cost per 1,000 gallons will actually be less than in the current structure (see the rate structure chart above).

This new structure does not change the fact that the cost to deliver clean, reliable drinking water and provide fire protection increases every year. In fact, next year we’ll need an overall 3.8 percent revenue increase. This increase was factored in when we analyzed and created the water charges for 2016.

The confusing: No two customers are alike 

Because the first tier will be based on the amount each individual household uses in the winter, your bill will likely be different than some of your neighbors.

Let’s assume two neighbors both use 15,000 gallons in June. The neighbor with higher outdoor water use (more gallons included in the second tier) will end up paying more for the exact same amount of water. (Remember the emphasis on conservation?)

Even more confusing is that we have different customer classes and types. So when explaining an impact of a rate increase, or a billing structure, we can’t provide a one-size-fits-all number. Everyone is affected differently, depending on your relationship with water.

 

Change is hard. And we’re not alone. The value and price of water is a much-discussed topic across the nation. And, as our good friends at DC Water explained, communication is vital.

That’s why we’ll keep on talking about this as we get closer to April, when the new billing structure kicks in, from informational pieces in your water bills to more information and tools on our website.

Stay tuned.

 

Note: Fixed service charge is dependent on meter size and suburban, commercial and recycled customers will see different charges in each tier. See the full rates chart for treated water here.

9 reasons we’re giving thanks this Thanksgiving

Water you thankful for?

By Jimmy Luthye

With Thanksgiving upon us, we didn’t feel right stuffing our faces without first sharing some of the things that made us most thankful this year.

 

1. Bountiful fills and spills.

Waterton_Canyon_Strontia

We had a lot of water this year, especially early. Three of our reservoirs set record highs in May, with a fourth recording its second highest total in history. Wetter is better.

 

2. Our water system looks like this.

Dillon_August_2010 005

Dillon Reservoir. ’Nuff said.

 

3. Turns out, it’s easy to do Thanksgiving without wasting water.

Turkey photo iStock cropped

[Photo credit: iStockphoto.com/NWphotoguy]

We’re thankful to have so many tips to enjoy the holiday while saving water. For instance, thaw your frozen turkey in the refrigerator — not under running water. Read and learn, as I have.

 

4. Nature.

close up

We’re thankful we live in a place where we balance human needs and those of the animal world. And we’re thankful the public remained patient and safe during the recent extended closure of Waterton Canyon due to increased bear activity.

 

5. Mmm … Brisk, mineral and grassy.

kelly and michael

In a bizarrely worded taste test in Rodale’s Organic Life magazine, we’re certainly thankful our water was named among the top 10 tastiest in the nation. To top it off, Michael Strahan and Busy Philipps tasted our water on Live with Kelly and Michael! Not too shabby.

 

6. We have some insanely dedicated employees.

water main guy

[GIF credit to Greg Dutra, FOX 31 Denver]

He’s not just showing off for the cameras, folks. Our employees are constantly out busting their tails to make sure the water keeps flowing, and everyone can be thankful for that. It was never more evident than at about 3 a.m. on Oct. 22, when three water main breaks happened almost simultaneously around the Denver area. And we’re especially grateful to the employees who will be working this Thanksgiving Day to keep the water flowing for all of our holiday celebrations.

 

7. The Great Divide … Have you seen it yet?

IMG_3345

This film came at a critical juncture for water in the West. It’s one of the most important films of the year, and we’re thankful for Havey Productions for their tireless efforts in creating it. Seriously. See it. Here are some ways to do so. Also, check out our film review here and watch our employee reactions here.

 

8. These moose.

moose

What’s better than a moose on your porch? A bunch of moose on your porch, of course! Thank you, moose. And a huge thank you to our mountain caretakers (and their families) — like Per Olsson at Jones Pass near Winter Park who took this photo — for their dedication to keeping the water flowing in the heart of the Colorado wilderness.

 

9. You, our customers.

thank you dog

[Image powered by Giphy.com]

Most important, we are thankful for you, our customers, who continue to trust us to deliver you high-quality water. We’re committed to continue doing so and thank you for your commitment to continue using it wisely. It is, after all, our most precious resource.

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

turkey day

[Image credit: Ethan Barnowsky, powered by Giphy.com]

 

Related story: Our party starts now by Dana Strongin.

Imagine there’s no water

I wonder if you can …

By Jimmy Luthye

The Value of Water Coalition calls for the public to Imagine a Day Without Water. Naturally, that got us imagining.

What if there was no coffee? Zzzzzz. What if we had to use milk to brush our teeth? Gross! What if we had to bathe ourselves like cats?!

Wait a minute.

As our veteran staffers brainstormed ways we might tell this story, something started to sound a bit too familiar.

After some research, we realized we were actually more than a decade early to this party.

Ladies and gentlemen, for your viewing pleasure, we present the spectacular (and spectacularly underrated) Denver Water television advertising campaign of 2001.

 

Ad 1: Shower

Ad 2: Hydration

Ad 3: Lawn

 

Classic.

The Imagine A Day Without Water campaign includes all sorts of events, social media engagement and other creative ideas all over the country. With that in mind, we decided to freshen up our own content with a remix of a 1971 classic. And by we, I mean I. And by remix, I mean a rough parody. Enjoy.

 

 

We are called to Imagine A Day Without Water because, as the campaign website tells us, water is “essential, invaluable and needs investment.”

Back here at Denver Water, we tried to imagine a day without water. First, we figured we might get the day off … but then we’d spend the day worrying and obsessing about where the water went. It’s what we do. After all, our 2001 campaign said it best – nothing replaces water.

May you never have to bathe yourself like a cat.

Time flies when you’re having fun

Adults and children contributed their passion for water to help us create Post-it art this summer.

Adults and children contributed their passion for water to help us create Post-it art this summer.

A look back at a Denver Water summer

By Jessica Mahaffey

Each year, we get dozens of requests to bring our water trailer — a 9,800-pound beast that carries 200 gallons of ice-cold drinking water — to events around the city.

This summer, we took our water-dispenser-on-wheels to 15 community events and served nearly 2,000 gallons of fresh tap water to more than 22,000 thirsty people.

We love the chance to attend these events and connect personally with our customers.

Because our conservation theme this year was “you can’t make this stuff, so please use only what you need,” we asked people visiting our booth to write about their personal connection to water on sticky notes, which we used to create Post-it art demonstrating the value of water.

Visitors responded with passion. We learned that while people value water differently (from drinking it to be healthy to being grateful it’s an essential ingredient of beer), each of us understands the vital role it plays in our daily lives.

Without futher ado, here’s the highlight reel from our summer events:

 

 

Learn about scheduling the water trailer for your next community event.

See ya next summer!

Learning the value of water: A childhood story from Liberia

Mac Noah working to make a positive change.

IMG_9935

Mac Noah, water treatment tech operator at Denver Water’s Recycling Plant, was born in Liberia, and is determined to one day put his skills to use in Africa to improve lives.

By Dave Gaylinn

Like his childhood football role model Barry Sanders, Mac Noah is a man on the move. He’s fast on his feet and keeps his balance handling many responsibilities.

Whether cleaning the injectors at the Denver Water Recycling Plant or attending classes at the University of Colorado Denver, the 38-year-old Noah is quick to flash a bright smile and ask a question about any new acquaintance.

“Everybody is like a book,” said Noah, a water treatment tech operator at Denver Water since late 2014. “You get to meet a new person and hear their story of where they’ve been and where they’re coming from.”

Noah’s book reads like an unlikely fairy tale.

He was born in Liberia, an impoverished country in West Africa. He frequently visited the countryside with his grandmother, where he would swing on tires suspended from trees and play in the river. When he wasn’t outside, Noah was planted in front of martial arts movies.

It wasn’t until years later that Noah noticed the poverty all around him.

“We don’t really have a water system in Liberia,” Noah said. “You can find places where sewage is running down the street.”

Frustration in Liberia boiled over in the late 1980s, and Noah’s homeland was torn apart. More than 200,000 people, including several members of his extended family, were killed during Liberia’s first civil war, which spanned a bloody seven years, 1989-96.

Trying to protect his family, Noah’s father put his wife and seven children on a plane that left Liberia in the nick of time. Mac and his father were reunited with their family in Hamburg, Germany, before immigrating to the United States.

The family lived in Houston, then Savannah, Georgia, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina, before finally settling on Chicago’s South Side. Noah attended Bolingbrook High School where he stood out as a running back and cornerback on the football team.

“I didn’t want to get hit,” Noah chuckled. “Which is crazy because when I was on defense, I would throw myself around.”

After high school, Noah sought to make his own mark. While his parents were vacationing in Denver, his father called and encouraged him to consider moving to the Mile High City.

“The only pictures I saw of Colorado were of snow, mountains and cowboys. I really was under the impression that there were horse-drawn carriages in downtown Denver,” he said.

IMG_9947

After starting as an intern, Mac Noah is now a water treatment tech at Denver Water.

Noah moved to Colorado in 1996 and enrolled at Red Rocks Community College. He pursued an associate degree in water quality while working a full-time internship at the South Adams County Water and Sanitation District.

“I really, really had to be disciplined with my time,” Noah said. “I pulled a lot of things in and just set myself on a schedule. I couldn’t just be on the phone for an hour talking to somebody about nothing.”

His classroom acumen and time management impressed his water chemistry teacher, Chance Green, who also worked at Denver Water. Green encouraged Noah to apply for an internship. He landed the position, and after four years, ascended to his current role at the recycled plant.

Given his background, it would be easy to draw a correlation between Noah’s childhood in Liberia and his work at Denver Water. It’s purely coincidental, he said.

But he’s quite aware of the difference that clean, safe drinking water can have on a society.

The World Health Organization reports 2 million deaths annually from unsafe water, poor sanitation conditions and hygiene. Listed among the world’s poorest countries, only one in four Liberians has access to safe drinking water.

Noah said those statistics “light a fire” in his heart to make a positive change in Africa. He is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in engineering at CU Denver, determined to one day put his skills to use in Africa to improve lives there. One of his brothers still lives in Liberia, but Noah has not been back to see him — yet.

“I definitely want to go back,” he said.

Mi familia trip to Cabo: A water perspective

Learning about the value of water in Mexico    

By Travis Thompson

Dinner with an ocean breeze.

Dinner with an ocean breeze.

As a kid, I kept a journal of my family vacations. With two children of my own now, I decided to keep up the tradition on my recent trip to Cabo San Lucas, documenting our journey through a lens of what I know best: water.

Dear Diary,

Arrival. After a long, exhausting day traveling with my wife, two kids and a clan of extended family, we immediately hit the pool and enjoyed a cold cerveza. After all, beer is 90 to 95 percent water.

Beach time. In my ocean-side book, “Blue Mind,” Wallace J. Nichols wrote, “As children we delight in water” — an experience I relished first-hand on this trip. Standing knee-deep along the Pacific, hand-in-hand with my family, we let the surf crash into our bodies. And, with each surge of water, my kids screamed with delight, anxiously awaiting the next swell headed our way. It was an amazing connection with water I’ll never forget.

My daughter spent more time in the water than out.

My daughter spent more time in the water than out.

Parched. We spent a lot of time in pursuit of clean drinking water, fueled by a healthy dose of fear that the local tap would punish us with Montezuma’s Revenge. Keeping a thirsty 2- and 4-year-old away from the sink, ice cubes, washed vegetables and anything else that may have touched water from the tap was a constant chore. Every order included half-a-dozen water bottles — some to keep my sun-drenched family from wilting away, and the others to stash in our bags like camels to bring back to our rooms for brushing our teeth and nighttime rehydration. This trip truly made me appreciate the value of having access to clean drinking water.

Water-wise. On a short walk into town, I noticed that without the golf courses, grass would practically be non-existent here. In Cabo’s semi-arid climate, cactus and other native succulents are the most prevalent plants. And water efficiency is as important in Cabo as it is in our dry climate in Colorado. Even the hotel had signs asking guests to reuse towels and linens if they weren’t dirty. A simple request for us to help them protect their most precious resource. Sound familiar?

Home. After landing in Denver, we raced to the nearest drinking fountain to enjoy fresh, great-tasting and — most important — safe water straight from the tap. And as we gathered our bags, one family member exclaimed: “I’ve never appreciated Denver Water as much as I do right now. Thanks, Travis!”

I couldn’t agree more.

Adios!   

Bottled water vs. tap water

When it comes to water quality and cost, it’s important to know the facts

By Travis Thompson 

Our friends at Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District took to Twitter to ask a handful of water utilities for thoughts about a recent opinion piece in The Washington Post, We don’t trust drinking fountains anymore, and that’s bad for our health, by Kendra Pierre-Louis.

Tweet 1

The piece provides an interesting history of the public water fountain, unveiled in London in 1859, and follows its rise and decline along with that of bottled water — at one point considered to be “low class”  — alongside public health environmental changes that have influenced society’s behavior and choices since the late 1800s.

Madison Water Utility responded with a picture of water fountains they’ve installed in local schools with a sign saying: “Your brain is 70% water! Drink up for a healthy you!” And Miami-Dade County’s Urban Conservation Unit shared their own photo of a drinking fountain, proclaiming they would like to see more.

Tweet 2             Tweet 3

 

The article and tweets are really about the value of water, igniting a conversation of the benefits that safe, affordable tap water provide to the community. But the article inevitably touches on a popular battle in the world of water: bottled vs. tap.

Obviously, we promote the great-tasting and affordable water that we’ve provided to the Denver metro area for nearly 100 years. However, bottled water serves an important purpose for us and the community. In fact, we provide bottled water to customers during some emergencies when there is an extended water outage. But, the bottled vs. tap debate usually includes a lot of misinformation, especially when it comes to water quality and price, so we thought it important to chime in.

Water quality:

According to a Gallup poll cited in the piece, 77 percent of Americans are concerned about pollution in their drinking water, “even though tap water and bottled water are treated the same way, and studies show that tap is as safe as bottled.”

That’s a pretty hefty number. Many bottled water companies actually use tap water as the source, and bottled water is not as heavily regulated or tested as tap water.

Next time you fill a glass from your tap in Denver Water’s service area, know that the water you’re drinking is part a system that has more than 16,000 samples taken and 66,000 tests performed each year, to ensure the highest-quality water possible.

Price:

Pierre-Louis writes: “Drinking eight glasses of tap water a day costs about 49 cents a year. If you got that hydration exclusively from bottles, you’d pay about $1,400, or 2,900 times more. If you’re living at the poverty line, that’s 10 percent of your income.”

‘Nuff said. Currently, Denver Water customers pay an average of less than $3 for 1,000 gallons of water. Because we don’t make a profit, rates go to covering service costs — what it takes to capture, treat and deliver Rocky Mountain snowmelt to your tap as clean, great-tasting water.

Whether it’s through bottles, taps or fountains, water is the single-most essential element to every community. Water is life, and we applaud those who continue to keep the conversation of its value moving forward. Drink up!

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