Thursday, May 7, 2009

Water water everywhere/ nor any drop to drink

Our water heater busted yesterday, springing a leak that's saturated most of the bottom level of our home. After waiting until 10:30pm (yes, PM!) for the plumber to come look at it, we're now left with no running water and a bill for a new water heater. That means we have no water for cooking, bathing, laundry, or even to flush the toilet. Let me tell you, if you've never had to pee in a Vitamin Water bottle in your own bathroom because you couldn't flush your toilet, it's a pretty humbling experience. Our saving grace is the water cooler in our kitchen, but of course we're limited in how much water we can take from there. I think I washed up in the smallest amount of water I've ever used for bathing this morning, about 3 cups. You never miss your water 'til your... you know how the old adage goes.

It made me think about the millions of people around the world who have to go through much worse than this every day. One sixth of the entire population has no access to clean drinking water. Imagine how that is, having to travel long distances in harsh terrain to fetch water that's probably going to make you sick because it's infested with disease. Around the world, criminal warlords hold water hostage, keeping it from the general population for ransom. Lack of clean water has public health and socio-economic ramifications. In areas were there is drought, no water means no crops for you (or the animals you depend on for food and income) to eat. Your health, safety, livelyhood, and future are in jeopardy, all because of something as simple and essential to life as water. As a person of African descent, it breaks my heart that the problem is most prevalent on the African continent.

At the end of the day, I can go to a family member's house to shower. I can go to the grocery store to buy food. I can even buy a nice 1-liter bottle of Aquafina to quench my thirst. My water problems are mere inconveniences. But there is a mother somewhere with a child as young mine who will probably die because of the lack of something I take for granted.

We can do something to help. One person can drink for 20 years from a contribution of only $20. I hope you'll join me in making a donation to charity: water ( and help bring clean, sanitary drinking water to those who need it most. As for the Anderson household, I think we'll be much more considerate of our water use in the future, having a greater appreciation for the most basic of human needs. I wonder how clean I can get with a one-minute shower.


Vanessa said...

Interesting that you should mention this. We had the exact same thing happen to us. Around 4am one morning I woke up after repeatedly hearing what sounded like someone splashing in water. When we got out of bed we realised our hot water heater had sprung a leak and the water had travelled across the floor, over the banister and onto the lower floor, completely drenching everything below (missed our computer by not even a foot...needless to say we had to buy a new one (not pretty pennies) but luckily it was replaced by the time we returned from work.

It is certainly a humbling experience to be without water never mind for long periods. I live in an area where hurricanes hit often so yearly we are without water sometimes for up to a week or so. Unlike those less fortunate I know where to go to access water because I have it available to me... But I think very few people realise how valuable something so simple is until they are without it, like anything else right. And in fact with a child it can be a whole other story.

What I find the saddest though is that people have become so accustomed to being without water to such an extent that it doesn't phase them to go without it for days/weeks or walk miles for a cup. At the end of the day all it really takes to help is someone that cares but obviously very few in the world do right? Ok girlie I have written an essay all up in your blog. I'm off to check out the link you posted. Thanks!

Cocoanib said...

I'm loving your blog!
I am on the eco path as well and plan to carry that into motherhood :)