Activism and film
May 2, 2008
"Nations fight over oil, but valuable as it is, there are substitutes for oil. There is no substitute for water. We die quickly without water, and no nation’s leaders would hesitate to battle for adequate water supplies."
— From the book, "Tapped Out: The Coming World Crisis in Water and What We Can Do About It," by Paul Simon, the late United States Senator from Illinois.
Beginning Sunday, Park City will join the nation in celebration of Drinking Water Week, an event spearheaded by the American Water Works Association. Park City Mayor Dana Williams announced a proclamation for the week beginning May 4 and continuing through May 11; new books concerning the global water crisis are at the Park City Library; and Tuesday, May 6, the city will present a special free screening of "Running Dry," a film based on former U.S. Senator Paul Simon’s book, "Tapped Out." Show time is 7 p.m.
Narrated by Jane Seymour, the film reveals a developing scarcity of water in Asia, Africa, Middle East and the American Southwest from urbanization, waste and over consumption. It also emphasizes cooperation between governments, businesses and nonprofit organizations as a potential solution.
Patricia Simon, Paul Simon’s wife, is slated to speak at the screening to further illuminate "Running Dry’s" message: that without a clean, reliable water supply, human existence on this planet is not possible, and that it is time to take action. A lifelong resident of Illinois, since her husband died in 2003, Patti has been an advocate, perusing global and local water-related issues including funding for the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005. The act, signed into law by President George W. Bush on Dec. 1, 2005, makes access to safe water and sanitation for developing countries a policy objective of U.S. foreign-assistance programs.
"Running Dry" director Jim Thebaut noted Simon’s contributions an interview last year for ecorazzi.com, an online magazine that bills itself as "The Latest in Green Gossip." "Paul’s wife, Patricia Simon, has taken up the torch and has been eloquent and very special in speaking on behalf of (‘Running Dry,’)," he said. "She’s really taken this thing on herself."
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The film and discussion at the auditorium will be one of 20 Drinking Water Week events statewide, sponsored and facilitated by several organizations including the Utah Division of Water Resources, whose mission is to plan, conserve, develop and protect Utah’s water resources. This will be the second year that Utah has participated.
"When you’re talking about water, it’s about quantity and quality," Utah Division of Water Resources Assistant Director Todd Adams told The Park Record. "There are always challenges to utilizing them to their best purposes we have to be careful about what we have."
Even in Utah, he says, water is a precious resource, and "in order to meet our future needs as a state, we need to conserve water."
Tips for conserving water
Utah Division of Water Resources’ educational programs for kids teaches a few rules of thumb for anyone seeking to conserve water in the United States. The following is posted at watereducaiton.utah.gov:
Turn off the water while brushing teeth. It can save up to 10 gallons a day.
Stop using the toilet as a waste basket. Any time a person flushes a spider, facial tissue or other trash down the toilet, three to seven gallons of water are wasted.
Wash only full loads of laundry. Most washers use between 30 and 45 gallons per load.
Don’t run the hose while washing the car. The Division of Water Resources’ Web site recommends soaping down the car with a pail of soapy water, then using the hose to rinse it off.