The summer may have spoiled me just a little bit.
A couple of weeks ago, when the temperature plunged below zero, I had to go back to using my water tank. I had forgotten, over just a few short months, what a luxury on-demand water is.
Last winter, I was getting around four or five days out of a tank, so I was surprised when, two-and-half days later, I was filling up again. I figured maybe I just hadn’t fully recharged it, but sure enough, the next tankful lasted just three days.
It seems I may have become significantly less efficient in my water use over the spring, summer and fall. Not that I am wasteful by any means; even way back in the 1970s when I was growing up, my parents were conservation-minded and taught us to be both prudent with and grateful for our abundant good fortune.
It’s not event that big a deal, filling the tank. It takes about 10 minutes, just a minor chore, really. But when it’s minus-20, I will certainly appreciate five days instead of three.
Of course, there are a number of things I was doing last winter to be as efficient as possible such as rinsing dishes after I finished doing them as opposed to as I am going along; short, efficient showers instead of long, luxurious ones; and flushing for number two, but not necessarily number one.
That’s just the logistics of it, though, what really occurred to me were two things.
The first is just how lucky I am to have access to safe, fresh running water in the first place and the second is always to be mindful of the first.
Water is life. That means even if there is no source of safe water, we would be forced to use whatever source is available.
Millions of people around the world get sick and many die either directly from contaminated water or indirectly from issues stemming from lack of basic sanitation.
In many places, even where there is a safe water source, people have to travel some distance to collect it. And by people, I mean primarily women and girls, the under-education of whom as a result has other negative impacts.
Never once in my life, anywhere I’ve lived in Canada, have I had to worry about water aside from an occasional and brief boil water advisory.
That is not to say there are not places in the country where this is an issue and that is a national disgrace that must be addressed.
I will keep that in mind when I feel like grumbling about having to go out in the cold to fill my tank.