Not a drop to drink
October 5, 2016 § 3 Comments
For complicated reasons, the drain that carries our grey water away, now makes quite a noise. When you take a shower or brush your teeth, you’re very aware of the water running away outside the bathroom window, and it has given all of us in the household pause for thought.
We’re in the middle of water restrictions thanks to a drought, you see, and when we first moved into this house, we were doing as many small things as we could to conserve water – a bucket in the shower, shallow baths, using said shallow bath water to flush toilets, and so on.
But over the last few months, complacency has set in. Gradually those measures have fallen away. We do adhere to the restrictions on watering with hose pipes and washing cars with buckets only, but we’ve not been actively conserving water as much as we were. My daughter remarked on this yesterday, and we have the noisy drain water as a constant reminder now, so we’re penitently reinstating all of those measures.
The water thing fascinates me. I’ve seen articles predicting that the next world war will be fought over water. Climate change scientists and other experts warn that water shortages are an unavoidable part of our future. And yet many of the people I encounter don’t seem to care. As long as they can afford to pay whatever the municipality charges them for their water, they shrug off the pleas for everyone to use water sparingly. I sat with such a man last week, who blithely bragged about his R9000 a month water bill. I’d thought him quite charming up until that point.
The excuses and justifications come thick and fast: water has been mismanaged by the government. Climate change is a hoax. The golf courses are still using lots of water. My garden is dying. My swimming pool will crack. It’s so much hassle to wash the car with a bucket…
They don’t seem to see that if everyone does something small – if we make a proper collective effort – it’s entirely feasible that so-called ‘water-shedding’ won’t take place, and we’ll all have access to water until the rains come again.
I try whenever possible to give people the benefit of the doubt. So perhaps these are people who’ve never had to walk to fetch and carry water, or bathe in a small basin. Perhaps they’re people who’ve never had to boil their water to ensure it’s clean, so they take it for granted. Perhaps they’ve never gone a day without water gushing merrily from a tap in their homes.
Or perhaps they’re just assholes who are only interested in looking out for themselves. Perhaps they don’t care a damn about anyone else.