Who’s Thirsty?

We never know the worth of water till the well is dry. ~Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732 (British physician and preacher)

Earlier this week, a water main broke in my neighborhood, and the city issued a boil order.

For those unaware of such things, let’s just call it a Royal Pain-in-the-You-Know-What.

Municipalities issue boil water orders when there’s a possibility of contamination of tap water by protozoa, bacteria, or viruses.

Stuff like E. coli.

Yuck.

In our case, the break in the water main caused a drop in pressure, raising the possibility that pathogens could enter the system and flow to consumers.

Double yuck.

I noticed the water was off at lunchtime when I tried to shove watermelon rind down the garbage disposal.

We called a few neighbors and learned they, too, were without water.

Then we checked our front door and found the city’s boil water announcement.

Of course we hadn’t put any fresh water aside because we hadn’t been alerted the water was being turned off.

So we had no water for drinking. Cooking. Hand washing.

Nothing.

Have you ever noticed how thirsty you get when you know you can’t have fresh water?

A boil order, by the way, means residents need to:

  • Boil tap water at least one minute before using it to brush teeth, wash food, wash dishes or utensils, anything where water is to be consumed.
  • Make sure pets have disinfected or boiled water, too.
  • Wash hands with soap and boiled or bottled water.
  • Use disinfected or boiled water to wash fruits and veggies.
  • Discard anything prepared with tap water during the boil order.
  • Continue until notified the order has been lifted.

I went to Wal-Mart and got three gallons of bottled drinking water. We also put big pans of tap water on the stove and boiled it for five minutes (nothing like being extra-cautious!). And I called the city — several times — to check on their progress fixing things.

By the next morning, everything was up and running, so life returned to normal.

But this got me thinking. Most of us in industrialized nations really take for granted the fact that we have potable water. Plenty of it. When we need or want it.

How sad that some folks around this world of ours don’t.

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28 thoughts on “Who’s Thirsty?

  1. Oh my! I admit I take my water for granted…sometimes it takes doing with out to appreciate things. And to think there is much of the world without this necessity. Hope things are back to normal in your neck of the woods.

    • Our water is flowing once more, Suzi, and I’m a happy camper! It’s amazing how inconvenienced we feel during situations like this — and it’s humbling to realize that that’s the norm for some folks.

  2. Over and over again I am reminded of so many of our necesseties and conveniences that we rarely remember to be grateful for – and I thank you for this reminder. Water – a basic we all need to survive. We are so blessed.

  3. “How sad that some folks around this world of ours don’t.”

    You said it, Debbie! I am a huge water drinker. In fact, besides a cup of coffee, the only other liquid I drink is water. I LOVE water!

    “Have you ever noticed how thirsty you get when you know you can’t have fresh water?”

    Yes, isn’t that the truth? Having lived in Florida for 20 years, you get in the habit of always having an extra supply of fresh water in the house in case of a water outage or hurricane because that happens A LOT in Florida. However, I’ve never experienced a contamination of tap water and having to boil it. Although I must say, the water that comes out of the tap in Florida is absolutely horrible; therefore I always used a Brita water filter or only drank bottled water.

    Glad to hear you got your water issue resolved, my friend. Have a faaaaaabulous weekend!
    X

    • GOOD for you, Ron! Domer, too, is a big water drinker. I’m sure it’s a lot healthier to drink water than a steady supply of cola (way less fattening, too!)

      We usually keep a small supply of bottled water on hand, but I hate the idea of washing my hands in it. I know it’s crazy, but I keep thinking of the cost — and yes, we’re paying for city water as well, but somehow that feels different.

      We have a Pur water filtration system on one faucet, and frankly, that water tastes way better than most city water.

      Enjoy your weekend and watch out for that cold front heading your way! xo

  4. I’ve been trying to remember when I started keeping a supply of water in the house. I know I began because of hurricane prep, but eventually I just started keeping about ten gallons around. There have been a couple of times when it came in handy: once had to do with water quality, and I remember one time when problems with a pump station stopped the flow for a while. I capture rainwater now, too. I do it mostly for the plants, but that adds another few gallons to the stash.

    During our 2011 drought, a lot of wells in the country dried up. That’s another problem. And yes — drinkable water in many countries is nearly impossible to find. So many diseases are water related. We tend to forget about that.

    • Aw, Linda, your plants must LOVE you!! I’ve always heard that plants do better with untreated water right from the sky — perhaps humans do, too.

      When I was little, my mom always kept gallon jugs of water around the house. I think it was in case of tornadoes. Anyway, she’d even fill the bathtubs with water just so we’d have enough in case of emergencies. Those days are over for her. We tend to grow complacent and rely on Uncle Sam (or his associates) to protect us from life’s dangers. I think that’s one thing I miss about living in Texas — the pervasive philosophy of self-reliance!

  5. Up here many residents of Flint are still not drinking their water and it’s been more than a year. They are using bottled water for everything. Some even for showering. Clean water isn’t taken for granted around here anymore.

    • I can’t tell you how sorry I feel for the Flint residents — and how angry I get when I consider how they were lied to. Nobody living in a country this advanced should have to fear their drinking water! Thanks for reminding us, Dawn.

  6. This post made me think of Flint too. As Dawn pointed out they are still without clean water. I’ve donated not because I think my small amount makes much difference but because it reminds me to be grateful when I turn on the tap. Charity Water (recomeded by Seth Godin) is also a wonderful organization. I am glad your water is back on! And the utility company was on top of it!

    • Thanks, Katybeth. Your consideration and generosity to those without fresh water humble me — thanks for pointing out Charity Water. We’re fortunate to have a good public works department here!

  7. Debbie, you are surely correct about all of us taking clean water for granted. The area that I live (and pretty much all of Texas) was hit by a horrible drought that lasted about 5 years. Our area lakes were actually going dry. I worked for the City at that time, and I learned more about water, fresh water, water systems from other countries, etc. It was really eye opening. We certainly need to appreciate and care for our fresh water. Great post!

    • Thanks for confirming it, Lana. I remember covering water issues when I was in journalism; seeing problems (and solutions) first-hand really opens your eyes. It’s hard to believe fresh water isn’t readily available world wide!!

  8. My family has loss many things over the years (cars, toilet function, fridge, water etc). Whenever things were repaired we were so grateful! During hurricane Sandy we had to do without a lot. Not to have any water with no warning….wow!

    I’m so thankful that I can turn on my faucet and out come cold….and HOT water. I know many in other countries can’t even get a drop of clean water. That they drink water that their animals have been in. Being that this is Thanksgiving week I’m going to be extra thankful when I think about your blog on …..water.

    I’m glad you have H2O now!!!!!

    • Yes, Tanya, I well remember suffering through hurricanes when you don’t have water or electricity! We are just so spoiled here, aren’t we? Perhaps Thanksgiving is a good time to be grateful for ALL our blessings, even the ones we regularly take for granted!!

  9. Here, California is Drought Country, so we take care to preserve our water. Can’t take it for granted, not when it’s scarce and the price of running water keeps going up. Heck, I’m grateful for whatever water we can get!

    • Saw where SoCal was getting some rain yesterday — woo hoo! And all the kids looked so cute in their colorful rubber boots. Who’d have thought they’d even own such things, when water is so scarce!!

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