Blogsam and Jetsam

Flotsam is the part of the wreckage of a ship or its cargo found floating on the water. Jetsam is cargo or parts of a ship that are deliberately thrown overboard, as to lighten the ship in an emergency, and that subsequently either sinks or is washed ashore. This is my personal blog version of the above. Loot freely.

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Location: The Hinterlands, Upstate NY

I'm annoyed that the world is going crazier faster than it used to be. But it's interesting to watch.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Running Water...

...Should never be taken for granted. Let me share a story.

We live in The Hinterlands so we don't have "city water" but instead have a well and a septic system. What this means in practical terms is that the water comes from the tap smelling not of chlorine but of minerals, that every time the power goes out we also lose water (no electicity to run the well pump) and that any tap left running (or leaky toilet tank flap) will "dry up" the well because the pump won't be able to keep up with the demand.

Over the weekend we had a no-water scare and thought our well pump had become terminally ill. Fortunately it turned out to be a seldom-used outside hose spigot that had been inadvertently left on, but we were essentially without water from midday Sunday till early Tuesday morning. This was quite a hardship but was mitigated by our having stockpiled many plastic one-gallon jugs of water for potential power outages and our practice of buying distilled water for drinking. I did, however, learn some interesting things:

1) It takes not one but TWO gallons of water poured into the tank to properly make a toilet flush. This cuts one's stockpile in half immediately.

2) Not being able to wash one's hands at any time is a MAJOR negative lifestyle change.

3) Ditto not being able to wash off dishes, surfaces and children.

Those three statements encompass much more living than it appears at first glance and don't even address the issue of what to do about showers or laundry. It was a wretched day and a half.

The experience got me thinking about pre-plumbing days and how MUCH time and energy the original homesteaders of our land must have spent getting water from the creek into the house. After the immediate rush of gratitude for technology and after thinking "see, that's why I HATE camping" I also thought "but some modern people are still living like this, aren't they?"

Yes, indeed they are:
Today, after three years of occupation, there is no running water in Iraq aside from 2-3 hours a day of dirty and smelly liquid that sputters from the Iraqis’ small pumps, and raw sewage in the streets.**


Think about that for a moment. Then go get a glass of water, maybe put some ice in it and be quietly thankful for a few minutes. Clean running water should never be taken for granted.


** http://www.aljazeera.com/cgi-bin/news_service/article_full_story.asp?service_ID=11434

4 Comments:

Anonymous DianeInChico said...

I like that you think.

June 21, 2006 3:47 PM  
Blogger Jennie said...

Very good point. Not taking my H20 for granted today. Thanks.

Any interest in explaining the principles behind mosaic knitting? (or should I just reread the posts)

June 22, 2006 7:25 PM  
Blogger JoVE said...

And maybe you want to think about low flush toilets. Seems a like a lot of your precious water is going in a pretty crazy place :-)

June 23, 2006 5:24 PM  
Blogger SamD said...

We got all environmentally conscious and got ourselves a low-flush toilet a few years back...it lasted six months. Having to flush three times to get the job done is NOT water-saving in the long run.

It isn't as crazy if you do the math: 7 people + 3 commodes divided by 24 hours! :->

June 24, 2006 8:20 AM  

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