5 Water Stories of 2014

Happy holidays! After nearly 365 days of 2014, we reflect on some of the biggest stories of the year in the world of water.

The Polar Vortexes

The beginning of 2014 brought a slew of polar vortexes to many of our service states, where crews worked around the clock to repair broken mains and customer service representatives worked tirelessly to help customers prevent frozen pipes. The jaw-dropping cold even brought viral videos of people pouring out boiling water and it freezing on contact with the frigid air.

 Ice Bucket Challenge

One of the most heartwarming stories of the year, the ice bucket challenge drew international attention to raise awareness and money for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). The campaign organized by the ALS Association went viral on social media from July to August and raised a total of $115 million in funding. 

 

Image via Flickr user Global Panorama

World's Largest Water Slide

On July 10, 2014, a Kansas City water park opened Verrückt (German for “crazy”), the world's tallest and fastest water slide. The water slide offers a plunge that is further than one off Niagara Falls and could rip the swim trunks right off of you. If you love water just as much as we do and enjoy being 168 feet off the ground and traveling at 40 to 50 miles per hour, this might be your favorite story!

Clear Frozen Lake 

A more recent story that went viral on the web captured two hikers in Slovakia appearing to walk on water. Watching the video more, viewers will see that the hikers aren't magicians but just walking on a crystal clear frozen lake. A little late to the 2014 party, but stunning enough to make the cut! 

40th Anniversary of the Safe Drinking Water Act

It might not be a story that went viral or made users “oooh” and “aaah,” yet celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Safe Drinking Water Act is a big milestone in US history. The act passed by Congress in 1974 protects public health by regulating the nation's public drinking water supply. Of all the water stories in 2014, we raise a glass and toast to tap!

Image via US Water Alliance 

Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas or Kwanza, Aqua wants to wish you and yours a very happy holiday. Enjoy the holiday season with family and friends celebrating the company of each other, reflecting on years past and planning for the years ahead. 

 

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What We're Thankful For

It's that time of year again! 
 
As we all sit around the dinner table for Thanksgiving with family and friends to recognize what we are most thankful for, the Aqua team would like to thank the people who make clean and accessible water a possibility: our employees. Their dedication to their trade helps build a stronger and more reliable water infrastructure and a closer bond with the customers we serve.
 
 
With winter weather approaching, our crews will work tirelessly to respond to emergencies and ensure water service through even the harshest of polar vortexes. We are thankful for our employees' hard-work and daily commitment to excellent service in some times unpredictable conditions, long hours and plenty of service requests.
 
Whether you work in the lab, at a call center, or out in the field, we can not thank you enough for your work. Happy Thanksgiving! 
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Diary of an Aqua Water Drop: Chloe (Groundwater Treatment)

Starting at the Source

Hey! It’s me, Chloe the Aqua Water Drop! As a groundwater water drop, my life has seen some big changes lately. The other day my boyfriend Phil and I were cuddling when all of a sudden we were being pumped from our underground well home. Phil is totally clingy and holding me back. Lots of my water droplet friends who have left the underground always told me dirt and water couples never work out, so I know what I must do. I say to Phil, “I’ll never let go in my heart, Phillip,” and I let go. 

 

Custom Pre-Treatment  

So, after I let go of Phil, I’m being pumped through a pipe and suddenly I’m above ground in this cavernous tank. I look over and what do you know, Phil floats on by. I can’t tell if he’s crying or if it’s all the water on his face, but he doesn’t seem too happy about our breakup. As I try to decide whether to talk to him or not, a whoosh comes through the pre-treatment tank and he’s permanently filtered from my life. It was the ion-exchange filtration that did him in. What was I supposed to do?

 

Chlorination

As I’m floating along, newly single, Patty the Pathogen swims over to me because she saw the whole thing and is always getting into every water drop’s business. “I saw what you did,” she scolded me, “He loved you! And you just let go of him like he was a piece of dirt!” Finally Patty and I land in another tank when suddenly a swarm overcomes us. It’s a brigade of chlorine. One swims right up to Patty and suddenly she’s gone. That’s the good thing about chlorine, they’ll eliminate the toxic pathogens in a water drop’s life.

 

Custom Post-Treatment

With Patty and Phil in my past, I’m in love again and this time it’s so much better than that dirtball Phil. His name is Chris and he’s a strong and kind water drop. When I’m with Chris, I feel like I am whole and we’re always holding hands. It’s like we’re connected at the molecular level. He never loses me through additional filtration systems like Phil did. We’ve been making lots of other water drop friends during our journey. We even started taking some classes of substance at Custom Post Treatment Tank University, learning how to control corrosion in the water pipes we’ll travel in during our trip to our forever home. After all, the key to a successful water drop relationship is a stable infrastructure.

 

Storage and Distribution

For the past few days we’ve been hanging out in the paradise other water drops are calling the water tank. Chris and I splash around all day in the tank waiting for the big call, like all the other water drops, waiting for our forever home. We talk about the future and where we want to end up; a pool, a glass of water, a water heater – anything without dirt or harmful pathogens.

That’s all for me for now! Me and Chris are enjoying our time in storage until it’s time for distribution. And who knows -- maybe someday we’ll end up in your home!

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Get To Know Aqua: Engineer Derek Sutton

Carmel’s internationally famous roundabouts are helping Derek and Petra Sutton feel at home in Indiana. They are daily reminders of the couple’s life in Sweden. 

The Suttons recently moved from Stockholm to Carmel after Derek signed on as the statewide engineer for Aqua Indiana, owner and operator of both public drinking water and wastewater systems in several Hoosier communities.   

“We moved back to the Indianapolis area to be close to my family,” Sutton explains. “Carmel felt like the best fit for us due to our passion for enjoying the outdoors. Carmel has done a great job of building biking and walking trails similar to those in Europe and around Stockholm. You feel more comfortable being out when there is separation from the heavy traffic here in Indiana.”

Derek had already established his career in water systems engineering when a chance meeting changed his future. While vacationing in Florida, he met Petra, a native of Finland, who was enjoying sunshine over the Christmas holiday. Love blossomed, adventure called, and Sutton found himself working as a consultant on water projects in Sweden.

Sweden, about the size of California, is home to 9.7 million people. Enjoying nature is more than just part of Swedish culture, it’s a right that Swedes take seriously. The Right of Public Access (Allemansrätten) means everyone is entitled to hike through forests and fields to pick berries and mushrooms without asking the landowner’s permission. Visitors have an obligation to respect the natural environment and private property.

Derek Sutton says this environmental ethos carries over to attitudes about water, which covers 9 percent of Sweden’s total landmass. “Swedes expect water to be pure and clean. They believe you should be able to drink from lakes or streams. Tap water is actually preferred over bottled water, which is hard to find.” 

Irrigated lawns are as rare in Sweden as traffic roundabouts are in most of Indiana – except Carmel. Sutton says he and Petra enjoy the roundabouts. “They are predominant in the suburbs of Stockholm.” His engineer’s brain appreciates the continuous traffic flow and the fact that roundabouts slow traffic to safer speeds. “We do miss Sweden’s public transportation. The bus, train, rail and subway system around Stockholm is awesome. You can live without a car there.”

Sutton says personal satisfaction from helping to improve Hoosier communities eased his relocation back to Indiana. “Working for Aqua as an engineer and project manager over infrastructure improvements is exactly what I find rewarding. If you’re interested in a career that provides a real sense that you are helping the community and serving in the best interest of the public, then a water-related career is a great option.”

The adjustment to Indiana’s culture for his Nordic wife has been eased by getting acquainted with Swedes who live in the Carmel area. They meet regularly and “There is even a Swedish school that meets on Sundays for the children to stay active in the language and culture. Most are Eli Lilly transplants here on working assignments.” The Suttons were surprised to meet a Finnish woman with a family connection who lives nearby. “Petra and this woman’s husband are distant relatives and from neighboring villages in Finland. They were both able to find one another in genealogy records.”

A trip to the supermarket or restaurants is another opportunity for contrasting cultures. In Sweden, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard and caviar are commonly sold in tubes. And at restaurants, Sutton says, “Swedish food has more fish than the typical Hoosier menu. But the best part of the Swedish cuisine is the diversity available from the immigrants that call Sweden home. There is Thai, Lebanese, Greek, Balkan and many others available that are so good. I did miss Mexican, though. Indiana has better Mexican.”

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Fun Ways to Get Your Kids Into The H20 Habit

 

By now you’ve probably done all your to-dos for the new school year. Shoes have been purchased, notebooks and pencils packed and lunch schedules finalized. One to-do that’s not so obvious is making sure your child is drinking enough water, and knows when enough is enough. Developing healthy water habits is crucial for staying energetic and alert, and can affect the dietary habits of your child for years to come. Here are some of our tips and tricks on how to get your kids into the H20 habit.

Invest in a fun water bottle or silly straws

Investing in a fun, reusable water bottle featuring your child’s favorite cartoon character makes drinking water far more interesting. Plus, your child can always go to the water fountain for a quick refill. And what about all those silly straws? There’s something more exciting about using a straw than simply drinking out of a cup. With all the new straw designs, the possibilities for creativity are endless.

Prepare tasty popsicles

 

After a long school day, it’s hard not to crave some sugar. Take advantage of your child’s sweet tooth by making water-based popsicles. Simply mix a little juice with tap water and treat your child to this tasty yet healthy snack. You can prepare the popsicles as soon as your child comes home and place them in the freezer during homework time. By the time your child completes all school assignments, the popsicles should be ready to eat and you can offer the snack as a perk.

Water Tracker 

 

Create a chart with every family member’s name and place a golden star sticker next the name of whoever drinks an eight ounce glass of H20. Keep track of how much water your child is drinking by the amount of stars earned at the end of each week.

Serve water before and after school 

Replace sugary beverages like juice and soda with water. This is the simplest way to prevent temptation: reduce other available options. During breakfast be sure that your child drinks at least one glass of water to sustain hydration and energy during school hours. Not only can dehydration cause fatigue, but also it can also trigger various health issues. When your child comes home, fill a cup with tap water and place it nearby during homework time to make it easily accessible. Brainpower requires staying hydrated, and water is the perfect way to keep your child awake and alert.

Just add fruit! 

 

Add a few slices of fruit to tap water and instantly add some flavor and extra vitamins too! Squeeze some lemon for a fresh zesty taste or add in your child’s favorite fruits for a splash of sugar creating a healthy, sweet flavor without all the unnecessary ingredients and processing.

 

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