YOU only miss the water when the well runs dry.
It might sound like a trite statement, but there are few statements truer. Water is life. Our bodies are comprised of mainly water, our planet’s surface is mainly water, and without water no living thing can survive.
The Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) has recently drawn attention to depleted dam levels amid a harsh dry season. All should heed WASA’s warning. But in truth, the issue is one that is wider and more enduring than the shortages of one season. It’s high time we focus on the bigger picture of sustainability.
The signs that our current resources are under strain are disconcerting. The Navet Dam is 23 per cent below its normal level and the facilities in Arena, Caroni and Tobago are also short. That’s indicative of lower rainfall.
Equally worrying is the fact that half of the water supply is lost due to leaks, come rain or shine. WASA has been able to bring the number of leaks down from 2,786 to 1,770. But while the authority is able to report these figures, it’s hard to say what impact, if any, its public education campaigns have had.
We urge everyone to conserve. Every little counts, whether you are brushing your teeth with the tap running, having that nice warm shower at the end of the day, or watering your plants – turn off the tap, abandon the hose, use less, prioritise.
It’s easy to be selfish at a time like this when the blistering heat seems to invite profligacy. It’s easy to not consider the need of fellow tenants or neighbours or surrounding communities. It’s the crab-in-a-barrel mentality.
That mentality might get you through the day, the week, the season. But what’s going to happen to future generations? And this is the rub. The real issue is not the shortage of water this dry season. The real issue is the fact that the Earth is heating up, the ice caps are melting and, based on current projections, the human race is headed for catastrophe.
In its public interactions, WASA should pair the needs of the season with the more long-term issues facing us. It should underline why this country is a signatory to the Paris Agreement on climate change. Maybe if people understood the link between their habits and the bigger picture they might be more inclined to act.
This dry season is already a difficult one. But it could be an opportunity to do some spring cleaning – both in terms of the approach to public awareness and also infrastructure. Dredging that needs to take place ahead of the rainy season should happen now.
The water level may be low, but let our energy go high.