02PubPenNo doubt many people think fresh, clean water comes from turning on a faucet or that electricity comes from flipping a wall switch. Ah, ignorance is bliss.

Well, last week I had the privilege of joining over 30 local business and community leaders for an up-close and personal view of the internal operations of Fayetteville’s Hometown Utility, PWC. It was impressive. Pride, efficiency, proficiency and dependability were characteristics that permeated throughout the entire organization of 600 plus employees. Everyone, without exception, left the PWC campus that day with a newfound appreciation for a well-lit room and a clean, refreshing and uncontaminated glass of water.

This edition of Up & Coming Weekly is dedicated to starting a conversation about clean water and the need to protect and preserve our natural resources — the Cape Fear River in particular — and the environmental issues connected and related to preserving and protecting it. 

Read and heed the articles that make up this week’s cover. They are written by three knowledgeable and passionate members of our community: Dr. Leonard Bull, Sharon Valentine and State Representative Billy Richardson. All share their concerns, insights and visions on what could very well be the next generation’s most critical challenge in North Carolina: the availability of clean and healthy water. Protecting and preserving our rivers, streams and other natural resources needs to be given the highest priority.

Our local utility, PWC, is doing its part with award-winning processes and talent and leadership that have been recognized locally, statewide and nationally. Providing clean water and making it affordable is a priority for PWC. Being good and conscientious stewards of ratepayers’ money is also a
high priority. 

Matter of fact, we enjoy local residential water rates lower than Orange, Hoke and Harnett counties. We even have lower rates than Raleigh and Cary, the two cities currently trying to take our water via interbasin transfers. This begs the question: Who manages their resources more effectively? The same thing holds true with electricity. Even with PWC purchasing electrical power from Duke Power, our local residential PWC rates are lower than those of South River and Lumbee River.

Here’s the take away this week: Natural resources are just that, “natural resources.” We can’t make more of them, and we can’t replace them, making it all the more crucial that we care for and manage them well. As such, they must be respected, appreciated and preserved. 

It cannot be all about money, politics and power. Ask the thousands of poisoned residents of Flint, Michigan, who went months without access to clean water. Or, commercial fishermen on our eastern shores. This issue is not going away. However, we will be the ones that determine its degree of severity. We should all drink to that!

Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

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