Legends from our own lunchtimes

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Water, Water Everywhere. . . . .

It's been raining here.

All our dams are overflowing, and we've got three years' supply, but the rain keeps coming down at at least an inch a day, sometimes this happens in twenty minutes. This is not a bad thing, because we know that in three years' time the dams will be empty again and by then we'll have difficulty remembering what it was like to have rain.

One morning this week we woke up, and there was no water in the pipes at our house. This wasn't that insidious sneak up on you run out of water slowly the drought's really bad sort of water shortage. This was (or could have been) urban terrorism at its best. Bang! No more water in our entire suburb.

The sky was blue, after all the rain the river was running that nasty angry brown colour it gets when it's swollen with floodwater and full of nasty bacteria, but even if we had contemplated taking a glass or two of it for breakfast, it's still tidal saltwater and not really the stuff which any mammal except perhaps the odd stray whale could tolerate.

It's quite amazing how much our routine is set by what seems to be such a simple commodity.

We had a litre or so in the fridge, but I didn't want to waste any of that washing the morning goop out of my bung eye. Oh, and I couldn't dress the infection on my shoulder which flared up in the humid weather after having "that" skin cancer removed last week.

There was just enough in the kettle to have a cup of tea each, with half a glass to clean our teeth, but shaving was out of the question, and bathing was simply off the agenda.

It was all strangely frightening. Not "ooh I'm scared" frightening, but frightening if one contemplated (and one did) the impact of a large community suddenly without any means of access to water, and how that communty would attempt to survive beyond the first few uncomfortable hours without clean teeth if its access to it has somehow been terminated.

Don't be too concerned though, the council fixed the burst water main, and we had it back later that same morning, and I stopped being frightened by my own thoughts.

But it had made me think quite seriously of all those people in the world who have to walk kilometres to retreive a bucket of dirty water that's of no better quality than our river, and wondered what chance the infections on their shoulders would have of ever healing, and whether they even knew that mostly their life expectancy is less than the time it takes their beards grow.

They don't have a council to fix all that, or an office where they can go for a shave.

All they have is people like us who can afford an internet connection, so I thought I'd place a small advertisement on their behalf.

. . . . . nor any drop to drink.


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