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Why plumbing is important for community health, safety and water sustainability

    • Plumbing allows us to manage water
    • Plumbing prevents epidemic diseases
    • Plumbing conserves water

There are several things that the human race takes for granted and plumbing is near the top of that list. People grow up thinking of water as a basic necessity. However, we don’t realize there was a time when bathing was considered dangerous and people would go on years without bathing. Just as people would also throw their waste on the streets, or just about anywhere (and many still do).

We don’t really pay much attention to the system of plumbing in Alexandra, Johannesburg, that is running underneath and around our homes and leaking water everywhere. The closest we come to thinking about it is when we face water problems, or when the geyser is malfunctioning, or when the drain clogs.

Truth is, the system of plumbing in most of our cities, despite the many problems with maintenance, leaks and pollution, still works wonders for us. Our lives would have been a lot more difficult and demanding if not for the ease provided to us by the plumbing systems.

Allow us to enlighten you on how plumbing is taking care of a lot more than just our overflowing drains and busted water lines.

    • Plumbing allows us to manage water: With the development of plumbing systems, the human race was able to manage, control and direct water for their personal use. Furthermore, plumbing allowed us to keep clean and dirty water apart thereby improving our health, hygiene and wellbeing. It is only because of intricate well-maintained systems of plumbing across South Africa that communities have access to clean water conveniently and comfortably in our homes.
    • Plumbing prevents epidemic diseases: Remember the plague, or Black Death? Water can be the source of various infectious diseases – and history is full of such instances. Many epidemics in the past have been caused because of water. The Black Death took away almost half the European population as a result of unsanitary conditions – in the absence of modern plumbing. Plumbing harnesses water, allowing communities in every country to have drinking water clean by adding disinfectants to it. Even more, even if an epidemic were to begin, one of the control measures that can be taken is adding antidotes in the water. As we sit in our homes, oblivious to the dangers lurking outside, the system of plumbing is keeping us safe.
    • Plumbing conserves water: There are many ways in which plumbing prevents water wastage. One way it does so is through hot water recirculation or tankless water heaters. We are all guilty of running the water for several minutes while waiting for the hot water to finally find its way through. Hot water recirculation prevents that by keeping hot water ready for our usage. And acquiring that system is super easy regardless of where you live.
    • Comfort and beauty: Until the 1800s indoor plumbing systems were considered a luxury. Even in the 60s in developed European countries, an outdoor privy was the norm. Today, modern plumbing in most parts of the world allows us to use washrooms and toilets in the comfort of our own homes. There are vast tracts of Africa where this is not yet the case – but we are getting there. Imagine spending a day in a place with no toilet and you’ll soon realise how plumbing has changed our lives. In addition to comfort, plumbing has allowed us to bring beauty into our lives. Modern plumbing now allows us to have upmarket bathing systems in our house. Something that was once a luxury has today become a source of entertainment and relaxation.
    • Energy saving: Advancements in plumbing are happening every day. With the passage of time, we are seeing more and more energy efficient plumbing systems. Plumbing makes possible for water efficiency, which in turn leads to greater energy savings. Such modern plumbing systems around the world encourage less water wastage, which leads to less amount of water in geysers and less transported. This saves a lot of energy. Water faucets with sensors for instance are a great way of reducing water wastage.
    • Plumbing saves lives: Health professionals readily acknowledge the role clean sanitary conditions play in community health – something brought home to all of us by the Covid-19 pandemic. Modern plumbing across the globe has likely protected many lives and extended life expectancy by giving access to clean drinking water to the general population.
    • Water sustainability is within reach: Countries like South Africa have water scarcity, and others have even less. However, all hope is not lost. The plumbing industry is working day and night to come up with solutions for water sustainability. The various sectors are collaborating with other manufacturers for safe plumbing, and water sustainability doesn’t seem so far off in the future.

You see how important plumbing is? Do you understand how that busted pipe, nonfunctioning water heater, and problematic drain could be resolved in a matter of minutes? You don’t have to live painfully anymore. Just reach out to a PIRB-registered plumber to make sure your plumbing lines stay in top-notch condition.

Reworked by Eamonn Ryan

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