We’ve been living under the coronavirus bubble since early March, and I think it is safe to assume that none of us thought that the virus would dominate 2020 like it has. As a mother working from home during distance learning, I now have a new level of respect for essential workers, like our district’s kindergarten teachers. Each morning, I start my day a full three hours before my son has to log into his zoom classroom at 8 a.m., just so that I can have some dedicated time to do my job without overseeing him.
This schedule has left me, quite frankly, exhausted. With our travel plans for the year canceled, and work-related events taking place during the first quarter of 2021 already moving to the second half of the year, the prospect of continuing this way of life for another six months is making everyone in my house a little stir-crazy. Though we’ve tried to stay busy by spending as much time outside as we can, cooler weather is on the horizon and we will need to adjust. With the holiday season approaching, I think we will all be spending more time indoors with our immediate families, so anything that might shake things up a bit is a welcome change.
Virtual tours and online offerings are an easy way to do this, and many of our industry’s finest institutions have jumped on this bandwagon as of late. For example, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission began offering “virtual explorations” in July, including tours of the city sewer system and wastewater treatment plants, as well as the reservoirs that feed the Bay Area’s drinking water system.
Likewise, the City of San Diego’s Pure Water Demonstration Facility public tour — which I had the pleasure of attending in person a few years ago — is now available as a virtual tour. Much like the in-person tour, the new video tour provides an up-close look at the technology behind the water purification plant and takes viewers step-by-step through each of the five treatment processes in place at the facility.
Netflix has stepped up its game, too. While we’ve all likely binge watched more movies and series than we care to share lately, a new documentary gives water folks something different to look forward to after the kids go to bed. The highly acclaimed documentary about the world’s water crisis, Brave Blue World, is now streaming on the platform. Narrated by Liam Neeson and featuring Matt Damon, the film is a look at the disruptive technologies and people working to protect our water supplies for future generations.
Though the film has been out for some time and was recently screened at WEFTEC Connect, the Water Environment Federation’s online trade show, the wider release speaks to the important work being done in the sector, and the public’s interest in it.
The documentary’s widespread release shows that water work is fascinating — not just to those in the industry but also to casual observers. With examples from across the globe and featuring a diverse range of solutions from industries and private citizens, the film is a must-watch for anyone, but especially those in the water industry. Share it with a family member, even.
In many ways, the consequences of the pandemic on the water industry are just beginning. State and local governments and public-sector infrastructure agencies will face the direct effects of the prolonged shutdown on revenues and expenditures for years to come while still being responsible for the economic and social recovery in their communities.
Now is the time to show support for our utility partners and advocate for the valuable work they do with people outside the industry. Bringing the work home and out into the limelight is more important than ever.
As always, thanks for reading! WW