| Birmingham celebrates H2O as a vital summer hydrator
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Birmingham celebrates H2O as a vital summer hydrator

Birmingham Water Works Hydrate the CityA refreshing gulp of water is serious business in climates where temperatures can climb dangerously high. In Alabama, Birmingham Water Works (BWW) annually sponsors a summer “Hydrate the City” program to encourage residents to stay safe and enjoy its high-quality drinking water.

This year’s program includes several morning pop-up community events in parks and at farmer’s markets. Each features a hydration station with fruit-infused water samples, fun recipes, giveaways, and visits with BWW mascot Willie Waterdrop.

Birmingham Water volunteers at a Hydrate event“Our ‘Hydrate the City’ events are a reminder to our customers that it is really important to stay hydrated during our hot summer months,” said Rick Jackson, BWW’s public relations manager. (Pictured from left, Jackson with co-workers Valecia Joi Dulaney and Katie Baasen)

“According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 600 people die from extreme heat every year,” he added. “Heat-related illnesses, like heat stroke and heat exhaustion, pose the highest risk to infants, young children, the elderly, people who work outside, and pets.”

Jackson, a former television news journalist who reported on past heat-related deaths during Alabama summers, launched the popular event in 2015 after joining BWW. One of his goals was to encourage more people to enjoy water, instead of sugary and artificially-flavored drinks, by providing samples of fruit-infused tap water.

Attendees at park event“'Hydrate the City’ has become one of the most beloved BWW initiatives, and each year we look for ways to expand the program,” Jackson said. “People trust that our area has some really high-quality drinking water and it’s a great opportunity to strengthen our ties with the community and remind them about the operations, infrastructure and dedicated professionals that make our drinking water happen.” (Pictured right, Jackson serving fruit-infused water at park event)

BWW, a utility member of the American Water Works Association since 1947, is the largest water system in Alabama, serving about 600,000 people in the City of Birmingham and five counties. The utility operates four filtration plants and a certified testing laboratory and has a distribution network of more than 4,000 miles. 

BWW is a long-time subscriber in the Partnership for Safe Water's water treatment and distribution system optimization programs, sponsored by AWWA and its partner organizations.

“This event has grown to the point that more and more organizations are asking us to host a ‘Hydrate the City’ pop-up at their location,” Jackson added. “It’s a really fun opportunity to encourage our customers to enjoy tap water as much as possible.”