Thursday, October 14, 2010

Drip, Drip, Drip

40 gallons. That's how much water I can carry in my home/office motor home I call "Tillie." It's not one of those luxury RVs but it's more than adequate for me. And it gives me a "closer to the ground" nomadic way of life, appropriate for my work under the auspices of HEAR US Inc., my nonprofit.--chronicling lives of homeless families and teens.
I'm like most--taking water for granted--until I started my roaming. I faced a steep learning curve: how much water do I use? How often can I get to some place to re-fill? How do I economize, without stinking and piling up dirty dishes? Do I have enough for a shower? Is it going to dip below freezing? If I'm careful, that 40 gallons can last the week.

I became a bit squeamish. Dumping my waste tanks then filling up with the hose right next to the sewer--um, am I confident of the integrity of this arrangement? No. I decided my drinking water would best come from the filtered water dispensers that cost me between 20-49 cents a gallon, adding a gallon a day to my consumption.

Choices. Despite my unconventional lifestyle, with relatively modest financial resources, I am able to acquire the water I need to not only survive, but thrive. With a little planning and a lot of luck, I can get water.

Without resources, that privilege doesn't exist.

Substandard trailers I've visited are hooked to who-knows-what for water sources. Trailer park owners may or may not care. Stories of tainted water supplies and poisoned aquifers dribble through news cycles unnoticed. Some places I've seen people have to haul all their water. Some families living in vans need to scavenge water and find places to clean up as a regular part of their routine, along with getting the "bum's rush" by restaurant owners not fond of sharing H2O. And most impoverished families end up drinking high fructose laden soft drinks, lured to their "value" by compelling advertising, forsaking water, which likely contains toxins.

My Navy-short hot shower, with the slow-flowing stream, makes me smile, usually. I try to think about water-challenged people, how they'd be happy for a trickle for a shower, especially if it was hot. My patience can sometimes be tested by the slow-to-fill water tank, but I put on my head-brake, remembering that I have access to water. My slug of filtered water from my hopefully safe stainless steel bottle can often give me pause--gratitude for the gift of refreshing water.

Water experts will figure out the wisest way to ensure the world's water use is adequate for now and the future. We need to do our part--and for me, I'm learning to be patient with, and aware of, each drop that comes my way.

Seems to me that it's time to protect our precious resources. The first step for all of us is to realize that we share this finite resource with our sisters and brothers across the land.|Start Petition