Sunday, June 8, 2008

Water rights

Both of them loved their walks through the area forests. This particular trail was new to them. He fashioned dead branches into walking sticks while she photographed the wild flowers. When they came to a pond, she said, "Let's jump in." He replied, "The water might be cold. We don't have any towels. I'll look for an OK To Swim sign." She jumped in. Still looking for the sign, he heard her cry, "Help! I can't swim." As he reached out to her with a walking stick, she managed to move in toward him. They learned the rescue process together from opposite ends of the stick.

Within the past few months Nestle Corporation proposed to my town and the neighboring town a purchase of the water rights for the reservoir and underground aquifer that supplies many residential wells including mine. After much legal talk and several town meetings the proposal was denied. A Nestle spokesperson, assuring all that their operations would only take water we wouldn't need, let us know they intend to continue their courting for the water rights. I object. But not because I'm afraid of running out of clean drinking water (which is a possibility for all of us). Not because I begrudge others getting the water they need. But because Nestle would profit from selling it. I'd rather give it away.

Additional comment: check for information on water rights at No Impact Man.

Amid all the talk of climate change and peak oil, going green and eating local, we often overlook water. We cannot live without it. Today with 90' humid weather, person after person is arriving at our emergency room feeling weak, dehydrated, passing out, etc. This is after one day of tropical heat - not months or years of water table change or decline in water quality. One day of inadequate water effects the body chemistry. Throw in an pandemic of some kind with insufficient clean water and no one will care about the price of gasoline.

"Gramma, why are those buckets of water in the bathroom?"
"Just a minute and I'll show you."
I walked into the bathroom, closed the door, peed, then called my five-year-old grandson in for a demonstration. He was too curious not to come in.

"These are buckets of water from my bath last night or from Grampa's shower this morning. We save the water so we can use it to flush the toilet."
We proceeded to pour and watch the toilet flush.
"That way we can use the water twice before it goes down the drain."
He studied the bucket then studied the toilet then ran out of the room.

Down the hall he was telling his mother, "Mom, you can save our bath water before it goes down the drain and put it in buckets and dump it in the toilet and it will flush and we can use our water two times!"

I know this isn't great, ...but it's great. Our tiny effort to make ourselves and others more aware of their water useage actually impressed someone, even if he is only five years old.
Of course the best moment was when his mother asked me, "So how do you pour the water to make the toilet flush?"

1 comment:

Chile said...

Way to go on startin' 'em young!