Unsung Heroes

Message from the CEO

Around the country, and certainly around Northwest Arkansas, we are in the throws of winter. As I sit here formulating this message, I can look out over the District facilities covered in snow. It is a beautiful sight…from my warm and dry office. Outside, however, the mercury has barely made it above zero and the dangerously frigid temperatures are forecast to remain for the next several days. During these events, most people have the luxury to remain indoors, and many schools and businesses are closed. For many others, however, working outside in these conditions is part of the job. The dedicated individuals that we depend on to assist our communities, including firefighters, police, and emergency responders, immediately come to mind. Others, of course, are the dedicated maintenance crews that work countless hours to keep the highways and roads open and safe for travel. Today, however, I want to recognize the men and women of our water utilities, who also work tirelessly in these brutal temperatures, to help ensure uninterrupted access to clean, safe drinking water.

Extremely cold temperatures, snow, and ice can all wreak havoc on a community’s infrastructure, especially water treatment and distribution systems. We all know that damage occurs to road surfaces and overhead electric transmission and service lines, but exposed water treatment processes and even buried water pipelines are susceptible to damage. Adding to the challenges of being exposed to the elements while having to repair frozen, burst, and leaking pipes, water demands can increase significantly. Many utilities must treat and pump more water to keep adequate pressure in their distribution systems, exacerbating leaks and further compromising systems. It can become a vicious cycle that is only broken by warmer temperatures and fewer dripping faucets.

During this arctic blast, Beaver Water District treated and pumped more water in one day than we did during the highest peak day demand in the summer of 2021! However, District staff and the dedicated personnel of our four customer cities met and overcame those challenges. We are fortunate. Many other communities, including large metropolitan areas, have faced significant line breaks and equipment failures leading to inadequate pressures and multiple-day boil orders. So often taken for granted, it is at these times when we remember how important our water infrastructure is, and how valuable these dedicated water professionals are to our communities.

Winter isn’t over by any stretch and we are likely to face another arctic blast before spring sets in for good. So, next time the thermometer outside reads in the single digits and you are advised to let your faucets drip to prevent them from freezing, take a minute to recognize the dedication and unwavering commitment of the unsung heroes of the water profession. Stay Warm!

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