Celebrate World Plumbing Day

World Plumbing Day is the time to reflect on just what the World Plumbing Council means by the motto “Plumbing improves the world”.

What Is World Plumbing Day?

World Plumbing Day (March 11) is an international event that has been running for 10 years. An initiative of the World Plumbing Council celebrated by the international plumbing community, it puts a spotlight on the critical importance of the plumbing industry in improving public health and the day-to-day lives of a sizable proportion of the world’s population.

Consider The Important Role Plumbing Plays

Try to imagine your life, and modern society in general, without plumbing. Human and environmental health as we know it would be vastly different. There would be no hot showers or running water to make a coffee or wash your hands. Worst of all, there would be no toilet and sewers to deal with your waste.

The World Plumbing Council refers to statistics provided by the World Health Organisation, stating that:

  • 1.1 billion people do not have access to safe water supplies
  • 2.6 billion people do not have access to improved sanitation
  • 3.1 million children die each year from water related diseases

Clean drinking water and good plumbing sanitation are the greatest leaps forward ever taken in the realm of societal health, environmental sustainability and economic prosperity.

Unsung Heroes

The unsung heroes of this revolution are, of course, plumbers. They’re behind the construction and maintenance of the complex plumbing systems that form the most important infrastructure of our towns and cities. These skilled tradespeople are prepared to deal with some of the less pleasant aspects of plumbing and ensure that stuff flows where it should. If ever there is one day to acknowledge the work they put in, it’s World Plumbing Day.

Improving the Health and Safety of Millions of People

Many millions of people don’t have to imagine living without a working plumbing system. They just don’t have a lack of good quality plumbing – they effectively have no safe plumbing whatsoever.

They have to go to the toilet in the open and collect their own supplies of water. It’s changing that unfortunate reality that is the real focus of World Plumbing Day. In the last 20 years, there has been much progress in address people’s lack of access to basic plumbing and safe sanitation. Over a billion people in that time, now have access to piped water. That’s over 30 times the population of Australia. Fewer people are being obliged to defecate in the open – a figure estimated to be roughly 22 million a year.

The Grandest Design

These are very big numbers and the importance of plumbing is a very big deal. The host of “Grand Designs”, Kevin McCloud, says that sewerage and toilets are underrated and that “Without sanitation, there is no civilisation. Without drains, there are no cities. Without clean water, half of us die.”

But solutions bring unforeseen problems. McCloud also points out that “we should appreciate and value the fact that we flush 120 litres a day of potable water down the toilet and that there are alternatives which we should consider.”

Australian Ingenuity

One of those alternatives is the dual flush cistern. This is an Australian invention that has played a vital role in reducing the amount of water wasted when flushing. And plumbing rainwater tanks to cisterns can reduce such wastage even more.

On this day it’s worth pausing to reflect on just how increasingly vital the work plumbers do is and to consider the advances of the last few decades.  As water becomes scarcer, the ingenuity of plumbers and the importance of plumbing are going to matter more than you might think.

Published: 2020-03-06

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