Thursday, February 16, 2017

It's Only Water

Much of the developed world has enjoyed public water infrastructure over a century by now. Several generations of descendants have become so used to the facility of running water that the casual abuse of this precious liquid is considered normal by the majority of many countries. Local waterworks are aging, pipes corroding, from the aquifers to the sewerage, pumps are failing sporadically; it is time to pay attention to the stuff that slips through our fingers.

How many times a day do you consciously think of this abundant commodity and dismiss conservation advice? No time to stop the tap when brushing teeth? No patience to turn off the shower-head between soaping? How easy it is to be rushed into mindless gestures when a stressful lifestyle is knocking at the front door?

Preppers are people who seem to be aware of eventual conditions upon Planet Earth once the billions of inhabitants have neglected or abused its resources. We are advised to save water, to put water in clean, safe receptacles in case of public utilities failure due to disastrous weather events. The media are bombarded with fear tactics about the demise of polluted bodies of water. And yet, few are heeding the warnings. After a steady diet of “what ifs” we become inoculated against specific anxiety. We shrug and chug our worries between the kitchen sink and the bathtub. From home to workplace water flows easy.

The privatization of water is often necessary, because most consumers would not have the financial clout to dig a well and obtain pure H2O. Pipes, pumps, and plumbing are costly, corporations with legal and economic know-how can provide all aspects of bacterial and chemical safety, storage and pressure on a large scale. Water is not just that easy –come - easy - pshtt! Stuff for public use, it must first undergo a plethora of tests and twists, from a mayor’s desk to Councilmen’s chambers, to scientists and experts, to ditch diggers and well drillers; salaries are on the line. All of a sudden, I feel tired sorting through the tangible emergence of that earthly liquid.

I grew up where water was not readily available but rain was plentiful, in the city, we had a cold water flat. Comfort came the hard way in the countryside; eventually a well was dug, a hand pump was installed, a few years later, a tank was welded above it, then pipes were thrust through the two foot thick stone wall to the kitchen, and again to a water closet. Experiencing such a slow progress in the country prepared me for another slow ordeal in the western desert. Water was not expensive yet; it simply was not easily reached. We carried heavy plastic bottles till they were hot and we were exhausted.

When the news are replete with hardships inflicted on so many migrant populations, I immediately imagine how scarce potable water must be wherever they walk or live. From tap to toilet, the wait must be long and unsanitary, on whatever continent people live there are too many needs that are not met—and—water is the primary need, besides human connection. Looking for affordable solutions and humanitarian involvement empowers the reader and benefits society at large. Type ‘water’ in the search bar, see?