Waterful Tips for a Wonderful Vacation

Ah, summer: The perfect time to take a break from reality with a quick getaway surrounded by loved ones. Though plenty of vacation destinations this time of year revolve around water (think: beaches, pools and lakes), there are several other ways in which Earth’s most essential resource factors into your plans for getting out of town. 

Not sure what we’re talking about? Read on to see how you can ensure your summer vacation is a waterful one. 

Before you hit the road: 

●      This one’s obvious: Make sure any of your furry or feathered friends who are staying home are taken care of when it comes to food and water. Hydrated pets are happy pets!

●      While you’re at it, see if your pet sitter, a friend or a neighbor can stop by the house to water your plants. Different plants have different water needs, so do your research in advance to know how many visits to plan. 

●      Want to keep the yard in tip-top shape while you’re away? See if you can put your sprinklers on a timer system so that they automatically turn on throughout your trip. 

●      Does your swimming pool have an automatic cleaning pump? If so, ensure the pool is filled up with water before you head out so that the motor runs smoothly and doesn’t burn out. 

●      Take a walk through the house and make sure none of your faucets are leaking water. You certainly don’t want those leaks adding up while you’re away. 

●      Sign up for WaterSmart alerts from Aqua to stay up-to-date about any changes to your water service while you’re away so you’re not caught off-guard when you return. 

For the drive or flight:

●      If you drive to your destination, bring along a reusable water bottle that you fill up at home. That way, any time you stop somewhere for a bite to eat or to stretch your legs, you can refill it at a soda machine or water fountain. 

●      If you fly, you can still bring a reusable water bottle with you—just make sure it’s empty when you go through airport security! Afterward, you can fill it up at any food vendor’s soda machine or water fountain so you have plenty of water for the flight. 

●      Don’t forget: Plenty of foods contain water, too. Pack fruits and veggies to snack on during your trip so you stay hydrated—the tasty way. 

During the trip:

●      Remember that reusable water bottle you brought along? Always throw it in your beach bag or backpack no matter where you go.

●      Don’t forget to drink plenty of water even though you’ve pressed pause on your usual routine. For example, if you’re used to drinking water at your desk all day, it’s easy to forget to do so when you’re away from the office! Try setting reminders on your phone to make sure you — and the whole family — drink plenty of water on each day of your trip.

●      If you hit the beach, pool or lake, make sure you apply plenty of sunscreen and wear a hat and sunglasses to keep your skin safe from the bright sun. 

●      If you plan to be super active during your trip (think: hiking, surfing or other kinds of adventuring), consider bringing packets of powdered sports drink mixes to drop into your water bottle to keep your energy levels up.

●      Just for fun: Keep track of how many different types of water you encounter if you visit a new place. Between pools, oceans, rivers, lakes and waterfalls, the world is full of watery wonders! 

Whether your summer travels take you to the other side of the state or the other side of the world, remember that water is an invaluable part of everyday life, from the day-to-day tasks of home, to the adventures of a vacation. 

Have a safe, enjoyable and waterful trip! 

Share This Post:

Sweeten Your Summer with DIY Fruit-Filled Water Popsicles

With Memorial Day weekend just days away, people all across the country are dreaming up ways to stay cool and have some fun in the sun while celebrating the (unofficial) start to summer.

You might remember that during last year’s Drinking Water Week, we whipped up some tasty and healthy recipes to bring fruity flavors into your regular drinking water. Now, to shake things up a bit, we’re back with some ideas for how to transform those refreshing drinks into icy popsicles.

Here are four different types of water-based fruit popsicles to quench your thirst—and your sweet tooth!

What you need:

●      16 ounces of prickly pears

●      6 cups of water

●      Popsicle molds

What to do:

The first step is to get the juice out of the prickly pear. You can do this with a juicer or by scooping out the insides. Put the fruit and the water into a blender or food processor and blend everything to a smooth, watery consistency. Pour mixture into your popsicle molds and freeze. Once frozen, remove the popsicles from the mold and enjoy!

What you need:

●      6 cups of water

●      2 cups of blackberries

●      ½ cup of mint leaves

●      Popsicle molds

What to do:

Cut one and a half cups of blackberries in half. Mash one half cup of blackberries. Lightly chop all mint leaves. Combine mashed blackberries and lightly chopped mint leaves with water and warm over low heat for about 5 minutes to allow the mint to infuse with the water. Let the mixture cool and mix in halved blackberries. Pour everything into popsicle molds and let sit overnight before eating.

What you need:

●      2 limes

●      8 mint leaves

●      6 cups of water

●      Popsicle molds

What to do:

Juice and zest both limes. Lightly chop mint leaves. Combine the juice, zest, mint leaves and water. Warm over low heat for about 5 minutes to allow for the mint to infuse into the mixture. Allow everything to cool, and then pour into popsicle molds.

What you need:

●      6 cups of water

●      2 mandarin oranges, sliced into wedges

●      Handful of blueberries

●      Ice

●      Popsicle molds

What to do:

Juice one mandarin orange. Peel the other mandarin orange and slice into small wedges. Mix the juice, water, orange wedges and blueberries. Pour mixture into popsicle molds and freeze overnight.

Get excited: You’re heading into Memorial Day weekend with four different types of popsicles to keep you and your family hydrated and happy. Tap into our Facebook and Twitter pages to stay updated on more fun activities to do with water all summer long.

 

Share This Post:

Shedding light on the state of U.S. water infrastructure

 

From filling up the bathtub to boiling a pot of water to watering the plants, we rely on a ton of water for our daily needs and activities. 

And because water utilities like Aqua work so hard behind the scenes to make it seamless, it can be easy to take Earth’s most essential resource for granted. However, there’s a lot more that goes into our steady and reliable water supply than meets the eye. In fact, sometimes you have to go hundreds of feet underground to see it. 

The intricacies of water infrastructure tend to be out of sight and out of mind for many of us, and we wanted to shed a bit of light on the state of all those systems. So, we talked with Aqua Chairman and CEO Chris Franklin to get the scoop on the state of water infrastructure systems across the United States. 


Aqua Chairman and CEO Chris Franklin (left), employees and board members tour an Aqua facility in Illinois.

You mentioned water infrastructure. What does that look like?

First, let’s go back in time to the beginning of the 20thcentury, which is when the U.S. started laying miles and miles of pipelines deep within the Earth (one million miles, to be exact). These are the pipes that collect water from the ground and surface sources and transport it all the way to your tap. 

The good news is that underground water pipes last up to 100 years, so this infrastructure has provided us with reliable drinking water throughout the past century. The bad news, though, is that a lot of time has passed and those pipes desperately need to be replaced. 

How desperately? 

Well, every four years the American Society of Civil Engineers issues a report card on the current status of water and wastewater infrastructure across the nation. Let’s just say it wasn’t a report card you’d want to bring home to mom and dad. (Spoiler alert: the United States got a D). 

Here’s the thing: we are facing a very serious water quality challenge in the U.S. due to aging water systems, stringent drinking water and wastewater regulations, and budgetary constraints. The time to take action is now.

Tell me more about this dilemma…

According to Franklin, many aging water systems are falling behind because it’s simply too pricey for communities to upgrade or replace all those old, deteriorating pipelines. And we’re talking big bucks: according to the American Water Works Association, we need about $1 trillion over the next 20 years to get water infrastructure to where it should be. 

Most of the country’s water systems are municipally managed, and the truth of the matter is that municipalities having competing priorities for funds to improve and replace the pipes. They have to prioritize water projects with other needs like schools, police and fire departments, roadways, and bridges, which can be rather tricky. However, prolonging investment in water infrastructure improvements can have serious consequences on the safety and quality of our drinking water over time. 

“Although the challenge to the U.S. water infrastructure is less visible than other infrastructure concerns, it’s no less important,” Franklin reminds us.  


Pipes, pipes, and more pipes: Looks like infrastructure! 

What about Aqua’s water? 

“Since Aqua’s only focus is on water, Aqua customers can feel confident that we are actively updating and upgrading infrastructure to meet the needs of their families and communities,” Franklin says. 

This means new pipes, efficient treatments from the source through the plant, and sturdy storage tanks for all. Additionally, Franklin assures us that because investment in water infrastructure is a key pillar of Aqua’s business strategy, Aqua customers can continue to expect clean, safe, and reliable drinking water and wastewater services

Back to the infrastructure dilemma. There has to be a solution, right?

Thankfully, yes, and that’s where Aqua comes into play. Over the past several decades, Aqua has teamed up with and acquired many municipal and private water companies that are struggling to keep up with their water and wastewater systems and injected some much-needed capital into their aging water systems. 

Plus, when Aqua makes these infrastructure improvements, cost-effectiveness is always kept in mind. That means that we take measures like purchasing pipes in bulk and using scientific approaches to tracking main break history, pipe age and more to ensure that rate increases are kept to a minimum for the benefit of our customers.  

 Our board looks forward to any opportunity to learn more about Aqua’s infrastructure systems.

In just 2017 alone, Aqua invested a ton of money (as in more than $450 million) in water and wastewater infrastructure, and since 2007, Aqua has acquired (and drastically improved) 174 water and wastewater systems. Looking forward, you can expect Aqua to play a leading role in fixing up many of these deteriorating water systems. 

“Aqua is committed to renewing and improving water and wastewater infrastructure through thoughtful and continuous capital investment,” Franklin adds.

 The next time you take a sip of water or wash your hands in the sink, try to remember all the hard-working Aqua team members that are dedicated every day to bring you clean and safe water. See you back here next month, where we’ll reveal the best kept secret to safe, reliable drinking water.  

 

Share This Post:

Aqua employees volunteer their time during National Volunteer Month

April was National Volunteer Month, and Aqua employees all across the company took part.

Aqua recognizes the many benefits of volunteering and rolled out The Ripple Effect campaign in 2017 that helped solidify all the good the company and its employees do for each other, and in the communities it serves. Overseeing the effort is Kimberly Joyce, vice president of legislative, regulatory and external affairs, who explained that “The Ripple Effect represents Aqua’s continued commitment to reinforcing the ideals of our mission, vision and core values, now and in the future.”

Throughout the entire month of April, Aqua employees gathered together and participated in #NationalVolunteerMonth through various environmental improvement projects as well as several charitable giving opportunities. Check out their efforts!

(Above) Aqua Illinois employees cleared debris, removed buckthorn, and planted oak seedlings and perennial plants at two locations in Hawthorn Woods;  removed invasive honeysuckle, and shredded it for mulching paths at Camp Shaw-waw-nas-see in Manteno, volunteers; and participated in the Food for the Children backpack program, where they helped fill backpacks with nutritious food to benefit more than 300 children in the Danville school district.

 

 

(Above) Aqua Indiana employees took place in the annual Team Up 2 Clean Up event, organized with the focus of beautifying local parks and surrounding community properties.

 

(Above) Aqua North Carolina donated $2,500 to local food banks, and nearly 60 employees volunteered at various locations including Greensboro Urban Ministry Food Pantry (Aqua Kernersville), Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina (Aqua Cary), Second Harvest Food Bank of Southeast North Carolina (Aqua Fayetteville) and Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina (Aqua Denver).

 

(Above) Aqua New Jersey joined One Simple Wish in their efforts to spread love, hope and joy to children impacted by foster care, abuse and neglect. Volunteers helped pack “lovedby bags” for children, which are filled with arts and craft supplies, and added a personalized touch by decorating journals with drawings and inspirational words. They were also able to grant five wishes, which ranged from assisting with medical bills to groceries to new sneakers.

 

 

 

(Above) Aqua Ohio contributed $3,000 and several volunteer hours to multiple charitable organizations throughout its service territory, including Habit for Humanity, the American Red Cross, the Franklin County Food Bank and the Marion County Park District.

 

 

 

(Above) Aqua Pennsylvania participated in two clean up events at Brandywine Red Clay Alliance and the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy. For the Perkiomen event, they also provided funding, as well as bags and gloves for the volunteers, and assisted with tire recycling afterwards.


(Above) Aqua Virginia participated in two Habitat for Humanity events at Fluvanna County Habitat for Humanity and Hanover Habitat for Humanity.

 

Share This Post:

U.S. Water Week Highlights Technology and Water Protection

At Aqua, we know that water is the most essential resource to the world. Each day, the Aqua team works to provide clean, safe drinking water to the millions of people we serve, while at the same time being environmentally sustainable.

This year’s U.S. Water Week, which is recognized from April 15 to 21, focuses on how crucial it is to improve water and water infrastructure funding in the United States.

According to Aqua’s Chief Environmental Officer Chris Crockett, America’s current infrastructure is sorely neglected and failing: service outages are increasing, advance refunding has been taken away, and increasing regulations inhibit protection of our water resources.

Surprisingly, U.S. water usage has actually declined over the last decade or so. From 1996 to 2016, average annual indoor household water usage has decreased by 22 percent. However, staggering population growth, both in the U.S. and around the world, pose a serious challenge to declining natural water resources. 

Source: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision

According to the World Resources Institute, a majority of the United States is under high risk concerning water quantity, which will have a short or long term impact on water being available to those living in the region.

 

Source: World Resources Institute

Technology can help solve the water system challenges we are facing, but people have to advocate education efforts to policymakers about the importance of water infrastructure funding.

In order to think about water and all of its interconnections, Crockett asks us to think about how we would manage water and wastewater if we were to build a city from scratch. Think about the water cycle, the drinking water and fire suppression systems.

In the end, though, Crockett says that nothing beats nature.

“Nature must be more fully integrated into our communities to clean and protect drinking water as a first step,” he says. While technology will help us in solving some of the challenges our water infrastructure system faces, we need to focus on how we can help preserve the environment.

Aqua tries to make environmentally sustainable choices in everything we do, because we know the importance of water. By cleaning the wastewater produced by the communities we serve each day and returning this safe water back into local rivers, we work to prevent pollution, protect wildlife and champion the environment.

Plus, since 2005, we have partnered up with Treevitalize and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to plant 43,658 trees at 277 locations, and Aqua volunteers have been involved in cleaning up rivers and fundraising for fire departments.

It’s necessary to protect and preserve nature in order to maintain safe water for generations to come, and as a company, we’re proud to say our team continues to work year-round to do just that.

Share This Post: