Today is Blog Action Day, the annual angry blogger rave and rant day. Something I don’t normally participate in. These sort of things usually change little to nothing. But this year the theme is water, and that’s something I know all about. It’s one of those things that you really only notice, appreciate and understand fully when you don’t have it. And it’s something where even an increase in awareness will be a positive thing.
Let’s be clear – I’m hardly one of the worst off on Planet Earth as far as water supply goes. But the droughts and subsequent limiting of supply of potable water in Mexico City over the last few years has meant that at times I’ve simply had to go without for periods of time that are, at the risk of understating the issue, inconvenient, unpleasant and even downright uncomfortable.
We’ve suffered complete shut offs for several days at a time on occassion, and the agua not-quite-so-pura is regularly turned off for hours at a time. Usually just as I want to go have a shower before work. When it’s off for a longer period, washing dishes, flushing toilets and showering all become decidedly difficult.
It’s not nice. Many people have it worse. But the situation isn’t improving, here or elsewhere, and the Big Water Turn Off will be coming to a tap near you soon if societies around the world don’t change their ways.
The main issue in Mexico City is the lack of suitable infrastructure to collect and recycle water without the vast majority of it leaking away. It wasn’t a problem until the population of the city exploded, placing unbearable strains on the water system. But that’s how things are going all around the world. Too many people, and either not enough water or a management system that is not up to the job. Or both.
There are two simple messages that Blog Action Day should be promoting in my opinion. Education and information on how to conserve and efficiently use water in those places where it is available. And the need for massive investment in putting in place water systems capable of supplying some fresh drinkable H2O in the many parts of the world where water in scarce or in short supply.
I say massive investment, because on a global scale all the figures are big. But it’s worth bearing in mind, when you reduce the issue to individual needs the number is surprisingly small. Just $25 can, so I’ve read, supply a person with sufficient fresh water for life in deprived parts of the world. So next time you’re thinking of making a charitable donation, bear that in mind.
Thirst is not as visible as hunger on a television screen. And the smell of unwashed people doesn’t come across as clearly as a mud brick house with a straw roof. But they are there, part of that life, and you can bet they feel it. I’ll leave you with a nice little image that shows where on the planet. Unless you’re ‘lucky’ enough to live on the edge of the Artic Circle, it doesn’t paint a pretty picture. Add another couple of billion people over the coming years. It’s not going to look better, is it…