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T.G. Shuck: Clean drinking water is a blessing that Americans should not take for granted

We’ve all seen it a thousand times before. It might have been in your neighborhood or at a local office park. So commonplace it probably didn’t even register with you mentally. What on earth am I talking about?  

Sprinklers … running full blast in the blazing heat of a summer afternoon doing nothing more than contributing ambient moisture to the atmosphere through the evaporation process. The sidewalks at the office park are momentarily filled with glee, since they are usually the only thing catching any water at all. The grass sure isn’t!


In a world where our very existence depends upon it, here in America the wasting of water is a big deal. And that isn’t a mirage.

We are the fortunate ones, born into the lucky gene pool. Americans who for the most part have easy access to abundant, safe and clean drinking water. It’s a luxury that millions take for granted in the United States each and every day. Take just a few steps and we have clean water at the tap.

For many more millions in underdeveloped countries around the globe, it’s a life or death struggle for survival to find the precious mixture of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. In some countries people literally spend all day walking many miles to fetch clean water. That’s only half the battle. After all, those heavy jugs of water don’t miraculously make it back to the original starting point on their own.

Worse yet, countless numbers of people, especially children, die from waterborne illness caused by consuming unsafe drinking water. This is not a guilt trip, it’s reality – and, hopefully, a wake-up call. Clean water is a blessing that many aren’t fortunate enough to have … so we should respect that gift, not take it for granted.

water wise bug

Conserving water should be a top priority, given its “must have” commodity status; yet the steady, consistent message on the subject from folks like those at Kentucky American Water have largely fallen on deaf ears.

Sure, they built a multimillion dollar pipeline in Owen County a few years ago that now makes water restrictions here in Lexington pretty much a thing of the past. But that’s precisely the problem. We live in a country and a society that is reactive instead of proactive especially when it comes to the essentials for daily living. When supplies are plentiful (no matter what the product/commodity) many folks tend to use to excess. Inversely when shortages occur everyone typically does their part to help conserve. Not because they want to but because they have to! Why have that approach when it comes to water of all things?

It’s the one essential need we have as humans that affords us the smallest window of survival without it. Yet daily millions of gallons are wasted needlessly. You’ve probably heard the statistics. A human can survive three weeks without food, but only three days without water. It’s the foundation of our being. Take everything else away…our homes, cars, cell phones, food, electricity and we could still probably make it. Take away our water…and that’s it …game over!


The year 2013 has been quite a wet year here in Kentucky. In fact, in Lexington we’ve almost doubled our average rainfall since June 1, and we are around 10 inches on the plus side for the year. It’s not an open invitation or a free pass to go out and waste water, just because we are ahead in the game. We all have a responsibility as citizens, to conserve! Let’s all try and do our part. When it comes to wasting water, just remember what the great Sheriff Buford T. Justice (played so masterfully by Jackie Gleason) said in the classic motion picture Smokey and the Bandit: “You can think about it…but don’t do it!”

Chief Meteorologist T.G. Shuck, Lexington native and graduate of Lafayette High School, has had a life-long fascination with the weather. As KyForward’s “Weather Wizard,” he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience and caring to his 24/7 eyes on our weather. T.G. began his television career at WKYT-TV as a videographer while a student at Georgetown College in 1990. He worked for a time in Charlotte, N.C., then returned to WKYT as a videographer while working toward a meteorology degree. Winner of numerous honors throughout his career. The Associated Press named him best television weather anchor in Kentucky for five consecutive years, from 2006 to 2010. He also won four regional Emmy Awards, including three for his work after the crash of Comair Flight 5191 in 2006. He was chief meteorologist for WKYT-TV for 11 years before leaving in February 2012 to spend more time with his young family. He and his wife, Angie, have three daughters – Sydney, Brooklyn and Raleigh. “His girls” are spending a lot of their time in New York City these days as they pursue careers in the performing arts. His daughter, Brooklyn, is a cast member of Annie the Musical.

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