water conservation on World Water Day

What’s water to you?

Last Friday 22 March was World Water Day.

Sustainable Development Goal 6 is crystal clear water for everybody by the year 2030.

Many of us living in developed countries take access to clean healthy water for granted. We turn on a tap and it is there. Even though it is free and plentiful, the sale of water in plastic bottles is increasing and the bottles are contributing greatly to the destruction of the environment.

If it seems crazy, it must seem especially so to those who live in places without access to regular supplies of clean water.

The figures quoted on the World Water Day website are astounding:

  • 2.1 billion people live without safe water at home
  • 1 in 4 primary schools have no drinking water service
  • about 159 million people collect their water from ponds and streams.

And so, the list continues with one horrifying statistic after another.

Water is essential for life, not only for drinking but also for many of our personal, societal and global everyday activities. According to business reports, it is even more precious than gold. Maybe we could live without gold, but we can’t live without water.

Learning about water — the water cycle, its uses, conservation and pollution — is an important part of everyone’s education. Sometimes we find teachers in the most unexpected places.

Bill Nye - everyone you meet can teach you something

Charli's flash fiction challenge a bucket of water

Not surprisingly, education is the theme I’ve taken in my response to the flash fiction challenge set by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch this week to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that features a bucket of water. What is the condition of the water and what is the bucket for? Drop deep into the well and draw from where the prompt leads!

water more precious than gold

More Precious than Gold

The children observed the bucket.

Teacher explained, “Let’s find out about what’s in the bucket. Ask only ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions. Do not say what you think it is.”

Is it wet?” “Yes.”

Is it a liquid?” “Yes.”

Is it heavy?” “Try.” “Yes.”

Do we drink it?” “Does it come from clouds?” “Does it make puddles?”

“Yes. Yes. Yes.”

Is it more precious than gold?”

Don’t be stupid,” spluttered Andy. “It’s water!”

Teacher glared. Andy’s smirk dissolved.

Ahmed looked squarely at Andy. “In my country

Teacher closed the book. Ahmed’s lesson was more effective than any she’d prepare.

getting the most out of life

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

44 thoughts on “What’s water to you?

  1. Christy B

    Water IS precious! And your flash fiction shows us that well, Norah. I’m so grateful for the good water quality we have here on the island, especially after reading those alarming global statistics you pointed out!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      We have a lot to be grateful for, Christy, and really shouldn’t take it for granted. It’s difficult not to though, when we have grown up with it and accept it as ‘normal’.

      Liked by 1 person

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  2. Hugh's Views and News

    Such a valuable lesson to us all in your post and piece of flash fiction, Norah. Just because something is usually always there and is less expensive than something rarer, doesn’t mean that one day it’s going to run out unless we all do something about it. Many of us take water for granted, just like we do when we flick a switch and a light comes on. I only have to think about what I’m like if the wi-fi goes off, to stop taking anything for granted.

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. Jules

    A valuable lesson. To let those speak who have wisdom to share. I remember going to the country for summers… While plumbing was available… to a limited extent, it wasn’t like what we had in the city. It is amazing how some countries have such a diversity in what is available to the people. And that can be any country you’d care to name. Even the most developed of countries.

    I have seen some ads for a company that cleans the ocean. You can go online to by their bracelets. The bracelets are also sold in limited storefronts. The sale of each bracelet cleans a pound of plastic from the ocean. These two men started the company. I think it is called 4Ocean – and the bracelets are made out of the plastics they take from the ocean.

    I also read a good news story about teenagers cleaning up litter from anywhere. There were before and after shots of the work they did. Some singly and others in groups. It is said to take a walk anywhere and see so much litter.

    I think that the camping mantra of leaving nature better than you found it when camping needs to apply to everyday life. To me there is no excuse for tossing debris anywhere. Even my little creek… I know there is some one up a ways a bit who dumps their lawn clippings bag in the creek. One may think that is harmless, but not if one has their lawn chemically treated in anyway. Or even if they don’t, the lawn clippings need to be bagged or recycled. And people need to be aware that rain water drain systems are not sewer systems. We had a new neighbor a few years back dumping his used oil in our rain water drains… A big no-no. He didn’t know and didn’t think to ask first.

    Oops I got on a bit of a soap box stand…. edit away if you’d need too. I enjoyed your post.

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  4. Charli Mills

    You have much to pour into us, Norah. Growing up, our water came from the creek. We had modern plumbing and a filtration system “of sorts” but when the snowmelt made the creek rush our tap water ran brown and bathwater pooled sand. We didn’t have bottled water so we boiled it. I remember my dad teaching me the proper way to scoop water from the streams to drink. To me, it tasted so fresh. When we visited relatives I disliked the tasted of treated tap water. Great feuds exist in the West over water. And in some ways, it is more precious than the gold it once washed out of the mountains. But the facts you share seem stunning. If people in a small region like the west struggle over water rights, I can’t fathom how that impacts underdeveloped countries.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for sharing your experiences of water, Charli. You’ve made some good points about the West and feuds over water. But I enjoyed hearing about your earlier experiences too. Until I was six, while I was living on a farm, all of our water was from a rainwater tank and, although this is slightly off point, we didn’t have running hot water. Mum boiled all the water for our baths on the stove. (No, we didn’t bathe on the stove. She boiled the water on the stove!) Many of my aunts and uncles, and now cousins, living in rural areas use bore water and some rainwater. The bore water can be very soft. But at least with either bore or tank, there is water. How difficult for those with limited access.

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  5. Susan Scott

    Water is indeed more precious than gold – it’s a giver of life, much like the air we breath or the breaths we take. Thanks Norah – we all need to be educated about this, even those who have easy access to water. And those who have to be educated about those who have not. This really needs to be highlighted which you’ve done so well.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Susan. I’m pleased you see value in what I wrote. The situation is difficult for many on both of our continents, I think.

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  6. Jacqui Murray

    It is amazing, about access to water. That makes such a difference in life. And the plastic bottles–I just don’t get our obsession with them. Convenience over the planet? I’ve stopped using them (well, I have one I reuse, constantly.)

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. joylennick

    Well written, Norah. I think it’s preposterous that children should die from drinking unfit water when so much is spent on arms and space travel. Why don’t we care for humanity’s dire needs first and then worry about space and killing…? Will common sense ever prevail?

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you so much for your comment, Joy. I totally agree. Wouldn’t we all be so much better off if we spent money getting people access to water, toilets, housing, food and health services. The money spent on war is horrendous, as is war itself.

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  8. Molly Stevens - Shallow Reflections

    Your flash is very effective in getting across your intended point, Norah. I love the way a child teaches the others in the end, having experienced a world where he didn’t take water for granted like the others did (and we do, too). I often think of how inexpensive water is compared to other commodities and wonder how long we can sustain it. And for those without safe drinking water, it is a tragedy.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for your kind words, Molly. I’m pleased you consider the flash to be effective. I think we (collective) need to change the way we think about and use water. It is a very precious commodity.

      Liked by 1 person

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    1. Norah Post author

      It is. For a while I didn’t understand the relationship between water and infrastructure. I wondered how we could possible run out of water when 70% of the earth’s surface is water. But of course, only about 3% of it is fresh, and most of that is inaccessible in glaciers, ice caps and underground. What we can access, we are polluting more and more each day. What a crazy lot we are. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  9. Norah Post author

    Hi Dimity, No, I haven’t read DRY, but I’ve just popped over and read your review. It sounds like a very powerful book that would be great for upper primary (I think it might be a year 6 or 7 topic) and high school students to discuss. Of course, we discuss the issue in lower grades too but probably wouldn’t use that book. I hope everyone pops over to read your review and purchase the book to read. Thanks for your comment and the recommendation. 🙂

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    1. Dimity Powell

      Yes, definitely Norah. Mentioned merely to satisfy your own curiosity. It’s an interesting and thought provoking read – more YA, but could trigger age appropriate discussions with young kids. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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