Water-A precious resource in a Desert Climate
See, in my current desert climate living situation I have water, which I am very grateful for, but it is rationed. The first week I was here I said in my mind, “It is rationed? What does that mean?” I soon found out. You see, I set up my home in a desert climate assuming I knew how to acquire water. Instead, I was oblivious to the whole situation of how one gets water enough in this particular desert climate to fulfill all my needs, including living. Big mistake. One that was not lethal so I am able to share the story because I lived through it. Whew, I avoided the stranger finding my dead body in the desert scenario. Well, here is what I learned. The government turns the water on for about 30 hours and then it is turned off for the rest of the week. If you run out, well, then it is bargaining time with neighbors or getting bottled water! Well, the first week here, unbeknownst to me, I moved in on the main water day and was busy drinking lots of available water while arranging the furniture and unpacking. Over the next few days I thought, “Wow, this is a great new place. Shade, plenty of room, water is plentiful so I can take showers and wash laundry all week … until reality hit four days later when I discovered something important, no water came out the faucet! “No problem,” I thought, that is why I have landlords. See, they take care of these things so I don’t have to. (Does this sound like a wrong mindset?) I talked to the owners and they said, “No problem. We will turn on the well pump and refill your apartment reservoir. Just wait about ten minutes and you can flush the toilet.” Great, confirmation I had the correct mindset after all. An hour later, still waiting for water to come out the faucet after three tests, there was a knock at the door. Yup, it was the owner. “So sorry,” they said, “The well is dry!” “Ok,” I say, trying not to sound worried, “Is there a place in the neighborhood to go to the bathroom?” I never received a direct answer, just “Wait two days and water will come back on. Ma salama!” and they were gone. Now this is a problem. Two days! I have to go NOW. I am thirsty NOW. Argh! Time to get proper mindset. Humility, next S.T.O.P. (Stop, Think, Observe, Plant) Whew, glad I remembered those. Now that I can think clearly, time for A. A..O. (Adapt And Overcome). Plan B was then to find bottled water and water ration. No flushing number 1 and hold out number 2 till lots of number 1’s are in the toilet. I was blessed with a good source of bottled water only two blocks away. I also quickly scheduled my next two days activities around which library, gas station, or shopping mall had a bathroom and when would I need to do a number 2 in the toilet! I will survive.
Week number 2 in the apartment was very different. One day of the week is now designated “Water Day” and everything revolves around getting water. If it doesn’t involve water, the activity gets assigned to another day. Lots of filling up water reservoirs large and small in the 30 hour window and no flushing number 1’s all week. I also made sure all laundry and showers were done in the 30 hour window, with sponge baths the rest of the week. So far it is working but I have big plans! I hope to have the main apartment reservoir replaced with a larger one. The water is expensive too after a reasonable amount is used, so I want to conserve the budget as well. I want to add that, from what I can tell, the government water rationing policy here is very reasonable and living comfortably is easy to do. I did a little research and in my desert climate, 85% of the water is for agriculture, 8% for industrial use and 7% for domestic use. They just want people to think smart in water usage so everyone can have enough. Yet, that could take some time. Just the other day, during our neighborhood “water day” I saw people out washing their cars with litres and litres of water flowing into the ground. Sigh. Well, first things first and hopefully we will all be better users of water including me. My first thought when I saw the agricultural use was, “Why don’t they use drip irrigation?” I will have to investigate that since I don’t remember seeing any here. The average income is not poverty level, with many people doing quite well actually, but the average farmer is not quite that wealthy looking. Maybe they cannot afford drip. Hmm. Well, something to check out. I know when farmers use open ditch or large sprinkler irrigation there is a major amount of water wastage, let alone the soil erosion that occurs which will destroy good farmland. A good case is America where I am told a hundred or so years ago the topsoil was measured in feet but now in inches. I have read where heavy water waste and soil erosion is going on in developing nations who adopt western agriculture methods, BUT that is another discussion!