Water Conscious

 With September came rain and relief after weeks of dry weather. I always feel relief when the rain arrives. I am very conscious of how dry this summer was and how low the water tables dropped. I can see it in the lake, which is down several feet, causing rocks that are normally submerged to rise above the surface. This has been the driest summer we have had in years, and I need to see the water level in the lake begin to return to normal. Something that will tell me that my well will continue to be ok.

We have never had any big problems with our well. A couple of times the water pressure disappeared, which can happen due to something as simple as a running toilet. But I know there will be a first time. A time when we don’t get the amount of rain we need to refresh the supply, or when the supply is contaminated by external sources. Climate change and pollution at their current rates pretty much guarantee that this will be the case.

As a child, I grew up with a well that was too shallow to supply enough water to provide baths and do laundry for the seven people who lived in our house. I sometimes took sponge baths in the kitchen sink, where I could sit on the counter and put my feet and legs into the larger sink in order to clean off the summer grime. To do laundry, my mother drained the rinse water from the rinse cycle into a large garbage can so she could bail it back into the washing machine to wash the next load. I was in my late teens before my parents could afford to drill a new well. So as you can see my water conscious attitude goes back a long way.

Everyone should be water conscious. Water is a precious resource. Without it we could not survive, but most people haven’t clued into these facts. They take it for granted. They waste it, and they abuse it.

Just a ten minute drive from my street, where all the houses have wells and all the lawns have dry patches, are urban subdivisions that are connected to the municipal water supply. In August, these homes were put on voluntary water restrictions due to low water levels in the lake that supplies them. With voluntary restrictions, the municipality politely asks users to refrain from watering their lawns and washing their car with hopes of keeping the need for mandatory restrictions at bay. Imagine my surprise when on a visit to one of these streets during this period, I actually saw someone watering their lawn. Upon looking around, I noticed that most of the lawns on this street were a healthy green while the clean cars glistened in the streetlights.

These are the same type of people who import locally-banned chemicals to kill weeds and bugs in their precious lawns. The same kind of people who don’t care that the polar caps are melting, that plastics are destroying the ocean, that everything that soaks into the soil or washes down the storm drain can affect the environment and/or the water supply.

Watering lawns is such a gross waste of water even during non-dry periods. What makes these people think that their lawns are more important than their water supply? How can they be so oblivious that they just don’t get it? Or is it that they do get it, but they just don’t care? If so, why don’t they care? Is it because they don’t have children or grandchildren who will inherit the earth? Surely anyone with children or grandchildren would want to do their best not do anything that would deplete and destroy things their love ones will need in the future. Surely! Ok, I know I am being naive. I expect so much more from human beings than they ever deliver.  

I am so disappointed in my generation. A generation who was expected to do better than their parents, who wanted higher quality goals and priorities. We all learned about, and did projects on, pollution in grade school. We studied the water cycle and how rain was formed. We have been exposed to environmental news from all around the globe for years. We know about countries where water is a luxury, where nothing can grow due to the lack of it. We are aware that the Canadian prairies are starting to worry about a the possibility of a not-so-distant drought. So it is our responsibility to make informed decisions to help take care of the planet. I am not saying that everyone has to change the entire world, but imagine how different things would be if every individual made decisions that took care of their own little portion of the world. Then taught their children and grandchildren to do the same.

If you take a snapshot of those individuals standing in their yards watering lawns and washing cars, they look like clones of a previous generation. We may as well pull a page from 1962 because, even with all the information we have at our fingertips, it looks like we haven’t changed much at all. Let’s be honest though,our parents didn’t know any better. We do!

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