Water is life

Years ago, when I was on a kibbutz in the Negev desert, we went for a walk. There I learnt to value water in a way that I’d never done before. Having to limit your water intake, under a hot sun, on a long walk in the desert made me realise how precious and delicious this life giving substance is.

Photo of the Negev by Julia Gavrilenko on Unsplash

During this pandemic, the importance of water for vital hand washing has become very apparent.  Some areas in the world are really struggling, due to their lack of access to it. Sadly it seems that only when we have been without, do we really see the beauty of something and fully appreciate it.

Photo by Aryan Singh on Unsplash

Water conservation will become more and more important in the future. I’m as bad as the next person for using water. I love my daily showers, being able to flush the loo, using the dishwasher and washing machine- we all take these things for granted, forgetting the importance of the vital element needed to make these things happen.

Photo by mrjn Photography on Unsplash

As always my mum and dad were masters of water conservation. Their generation really knew how to look after our resources. Whenever the hot weather came, Mum would take the bowl of washing up water to water the flower borders outside. Dad always had a water butt collecting the water from the shed and garage roofs, which Mum also used to good effect to water the plants. They’d collect water from the spin dryer in buckets and use that as well as restricting their use of water in the home.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

I’ve learnt to turn off the tap when I’m brushing my teeth and trying to remember to do the same during the longer handwashing routines we’ve all got to do these days. I try to make sure that I only ever turn the washing machine or dishwasher on when it is completely full and have showers in preference to baths. Dripping taps really worry me until we can get them sorted, as I’m aware how much they waste. However, I’m know I still use so much more water than my counterparts in other areas of the world.

Photo by Ibrahim Rifath on Unsplash

A brilliant way to reduce masses of water consumption is compost toilets. We waste so much cleaned water just flushing it down the toilet, as well as removing valuable nutrients that after a few years can provide a safe and great source of compost for the garden.  When we were getting a new toilet, I wanted a compost one but sadly couldn’t persuade the rest of my family that it was an option. No doubt it will take another crisis of the same magnitude as Covid 19 but for water, before people will use their amazing inventiveness to create attractive and viable compost toilets to use in the home. The ones that are available all need a large chamber to house the composter under the site of the toilet. As usual the European countries are way ahead of us in their design and manufacture. There are lots that have been developed for outdoor use in this country  for sheds, remote places and churches, but people are understandably reluctant for now to embrace them.

Photo by Amy Reed on Unsplash

I believe the first step towards sustainable water use is to be thankful for the water we use. Observe when and how it is used in our lives and use it consciously, with gratitude. People may think I’m odd but I always try to remember to thank and bless the water I use.

Photo by Maurice Sahl on Unsplash

Over the years I have read some interesting books about water, showing a very different perspective from the standard view. I now believe it has many amazing properties- far more than we have ever given credit for. As a result, I am concerned that we treat water in the wrong way. Collecting it in dams, feeding it through straight pipes, sealing it in linear canal and worst of all harvesting in plastic bottles, all go against its nature. To be truly alive and healthy for us to use and drink, water should be as nature intended; free flowing, tumbling, meandering and going where it pleases. You only have to look at the difference- compare a lively, bubbly and glistening mountain stream with a limpid canal. Need I say more? I am sure there must be other ways to harvest and collect water for our needs… time will tell.

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