I work for a municipality operating the water and waste water systems and I have learned something very important about the public perception. Almost nobody has any idea where their water comes from and where their sewage goes afterwards.
I get reminded of this every time there are service disruptions. People panic as soon as the water stops flowing (the panic doesn’t stop even after the water is back on). A little basic water education can alleviate this panic and confusion.
Here are some things I always consider when I think about water systems.
What is the source and where does it come from? What are the raw water characteristics? What treatment is necessary? What treatment would be nice to have? What treatment is actually being done? How far does the treated water have to travel to reach me?
On the sewage side.
Am I on a low or high point on the system? What treatment is done? What additional treatment would be nice to have? Where is the treated sewage released back into the environment? (this last question needs to be asked for many places as everyone is downstream of someone else)
Now I don’t expect everyone to go out and find all that information for themselves. However, I would encourage people to know the following. Where does my water come from? What do they do to it? How does that affect me?