18 June 2009

Last night it rained

Last night it rained. The 1.15 inch rainfall was welcomed by everyone (except the soccer players: one inch of rain over one square mile equals about 17.4 million gallons of water weighing 143 million pounds, or the weight of a train with 40 boxcars, according to the National Weather Service, so approximately 160 million pounds fell on the brave kids and parents who kept playing!)

I putter around my garden with a hose or watering can, gently soaking the leaves, roots, and soil, and I have thoughts that go in two directions. First, it’s hard not to think about places where large segments of the population don’t have access to water. As I watch a plant perk up with water, I wonder what it’s like to live in a water-deprived community, where the constant struggle to obtain water dominates daily life. Second, I wonder how we’ve allowed the marketing and sale of bottled water to succeed. Water is our most basic human need. If human rights have any meaning, access to safe, affordable water should be a priority for all governments. And in this country, where we use 20 times more water than some 1.8 billion people worldwide who use a mere 20 liters per day, we’re standing idly by while this most precious resource is being commoditized and privatized right before our eyes.

The biggest shock we’ve had in recent years was last year’s gas prices – when a gallon hit $4.00 people began to worry and panic. $4.00 for a gallon of gas was as terrible a scourge as anyone could remember. Yet, we’d still drive to the store and spend a dollar on a bottle of water. A dollar for about a pint of water. It makes gasoline look like a bargain.


1 comment:

  1. excellent post, patrick.

    not to mention the problem of disposing of all those water bottles.