In North America, most of us take one thing for granted – water!
I am not an environmentalist, reminding you of the importance of conservation, although I know it is an important issue. However, we don’t have to go long without water to realize how precious it is in our daily lives.
Living on a farm, water is an ongoing concern, especially with livestock. We simply cannot be without it. Every creature, including us, relies on it for survival. Our tap water comes out a slightly grey colour, but clears after a few seconds. Its taste is less than pleasant, therefore we haul our drinking water from town. For us it would be a luxury to make juice or coffee with water from the tap. In a town or city, you are not responsible for your waterworks; out on the farm, we are on our own. Of course we don’t have to pay for our water – we just pay to fix all of the problems associated with it.
Over the years, having water problems has become normal. Either a pump, switch, electrical wire or another issue interrupts our water flow. With a large number of cattle consuming so much water, by late winter our pump has trouble keeping up with the demand, therefore causing our water to run out daily. After awhile the pump catches up and we have water once again.
One day, while getting ready for an evening out (a rare activity during calving), I decided to shower in the afternoon. I turned the water on and proceeded. Just as I got the shampoo lathered the water stopped. I began to wonder how I’d get the shampoo out if the water didn’t come back on soon. How long does it take snow to melt? How often we complain about poor water pressure in the shower, but at that point even the slightest trickle would have been a miracle. Finally I heard the sound of pipes filling once again. The tap sputtered and shot out some brown liquid, then finally flowed clear once again. Well maybe not pressurized flowing, but good enough. I should have learned by now that the only way to have a pleasant, uninterrupted shower – complete with water – is to get up in the morning before the cows do!
Water problems always remind me how much we rely on water and take it for granted. In our household on a daily basis, it is nothing to wash a couple loads of laundry, run the dishwasher at least once and of course the numerous toilet flushes and handwashes.
I often think about the countries that don’t have a plentiful water supply. They savour every precious drop, while we waste so much without realizing it. Having water problems is a fairly normal part of life on a farm, but it also reminds me to be thankful when everything is working properly. So much of our daily activity revolves around water and we don’t realize how much we need it until it is gone. The next time you turn on a tap, take a moment to appreciate the clear, flowing water. It is a valuable resource! – Tanya Unrau writes from