Double take

I have passed this facility at our local market several hundred times, yet only yesterday, noticed a phrase in the advertisement which accompanies it. Please do not misunderstand,  it is a wonderful thing that purified water can be so readily available to consumers in this way. To be clear, the motivation for this post came from the surprise that I registered when I read the phrase … “Like Water Used to be!” My first thought was, Does water not taste like it used to? And, if so, When did this happen?

I am aware that there are global concerns about water; and, in particular, the availability of clean drinking water to nourish an ever-growing population (human and otherwise).  A quick gathering of statistics brought the many problems into clear relief; 884 million people do not have access to safe water and 1.4 million children die each year as a result of diseases caused by organisms which are found in unclean water. I am also aware, in some general sense at least, that there are significant water issues in the U.S. as well. What took me up short however was the realization (made so clear by the statement which is the focus of this post) that a number of folks apparently do not have access to water that is both delicious and purelike [it] used to be

I suppose I had thought that the real issues of water supply and quality were somehow concerns of countries in the developing world. What shocked me was the uncomfortable realization that these issues affect my world too. Sure, I know that there are worries about U.S. water supplies and that one in three counties here will experience greater risks of water shortage due to global climate change in the near future. Perhaps the fact that fifty billion units of bottled water are consumed by Americans each year should have given me a hint. The fact, which I was able to ignore in my little clean-water corner of the world I call home, is that water quality is enough of a local issue that facilities like the one shown above are here and they are here to stay. This negative realization is made more worrisome, for us, by the encroachment of the Marcellus gas shale industry. We wrote, in an earlier post, about the potential impact of  hydraulic fracturing on our own domestic and agricultural water supplies. Let us hope that the situation never, ever, mirrors that reflected upon by Coleridge in verse: Water, water, every where … Nor any drop to drink.

7 thoughts on “Double take

  1. Love the post. A few weeks ago, I accidentally drank “bottle water” from the glass we use to warm Audrey’s bottles and it tasted a little like plastic. I was disappointed at having imbibed something that tasted like plastic and then realized sheepishly that the “dirty” water I drank was WAY cleaner than the cleanest water that many people have access to. We definitely take it for granted!

    • PS: When I comment from my phone, I can’t proofread, so I apologize for any current and future typos!

  2. I think we often tend to think of water problems in terms of the diseases that arise from pollution by waste and sewage in third-world countries–issues that seem far removed from the regulated water supply in the U.S. But chemical contamination means we are not immune to water concerns. And the whole world has to worry about water shortage, no matter where you’re from.

    • Right. As I wrote in the post – I was insulated from these realities – that is, until the sign jolted me back to reality. Thanks for your reply. From what I understand, there are others out there reading these … but few will take the time to reply. How do we get around this?

      • Ask for them! I’ve seen lots of blog posts that end with a question or two for the reader, inviting them to contribute to the debate, but they have to be specific prompts that people might have a ready opinion or answer for… e.g. Readers: Where do you get your water from? Are you worried about contamination or shortage of any kind? What is your opinion on the effect of hydrofracking on drinking water?

      • Wow … three comments in one day from a single person. I’m so excited. Thanks much for taking the time. I’m planning on writing more about water this evening. Stay in touch.

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