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Water

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I ran across this video that make me think of water, especially clean water. If the colors are representative of what is really going on, a lot of people have contaminated water. You can read more about this art, and the shocking and deadly effects of lack of clean water at this link https://ofnotemagazine.org/2016/06/05/serge-belo/

We are used to having water. You open the faucet and clean drinking water comes out. We don’t even think about it until we open a faucet and nothing comes out. This happened to me within a few days of moving here, and I couldn’t believe it. I asked a neighbor who nonchalantly told me that yes, that water was out, but there is a river down there.

We soon became familiar with working around water outages. We stored water for those times. Sometimes we did laundry or showered at odd hours or late at night to work around water availability. Eventually, when we could afford it, we put in a water tank and pump. The tank would refill when there was water, and it would be there anytime we needed it. But, one time the tank did not refill and we were without water for a week, just us and the neighbor next door. The water company did nothing. Someone suggested we call our plumber who diagnosed the problem immediately. We are at the end of the water line, and our meters had become clogged with mud and debris. I was SO happy when he got everything cleaned out and we had water again!

I think it only happened once or twice in 11 years that we were without water for more than 24 hours (not counting the clogged meter), When that happens, they send around a tanker truck to refill any container that you provide. So, it’s not like we suffer much. It’s just inconvenient, especially if you don’t have a tank. It’s the end of the dry season now, and you can expect frequent water outages because there just isn’t as much supply, so they do something like rolling blackouts. When there are heavy rains, sometimes the inlets to the water plant become clogged with debris, and then they have to shut off the water to clean everything out. Sometimes after this, the first water you get will be full of mud, (though thankfully this hasn’t happened for a long time). Sometimes they are working on repairing or upgrading something. Most of the time though, nobody knows what’s going on and they just patiently wait for the water to come back.

And, it’s not just the people here. The last rainy season brought much less water to the area, and the Panama Canal has been having a very hard time. When they raise the water level in the locks, the water comes from Lake Gatun, and when they lower the level it flows out to the sea. The new, larger locks have a water conservation system in place, but it still takes a considerable amount of water to operate those locks. With water levels alarmingly low in Lake Gatun, they have had to restrict the number of ships coming through the canal. They have had to offload cargo to lighten many ships so they can make it through with the lower water levels. It has caused ship traffic to back up considerably and it’s just a mess.

Here is an article that talks about it in more depth. https://phys.org/news/2024-03-panama-canal-averts-crisis.html

I will never ever take water for granted again! It makes me think of all the people in the world who never have clean water, or they have to carry water sometimes at considerable distances. Now every time I open a faucet and clean water comes out, I give thanks. Now that we are transitioning back into the rainy season, we all hope we get plenty of rain, not only for us, but for many parts of the world that have been affected by low levels of rainfall.

Thank you for the clean water that we enjoy every single day!

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