World Water Day

Today being World Water Day, I’ve been thinking about our water here in Montero and wanted to share my thoughts with you, our lovely blog reader.

First, we usually don’t drink the water from the tap here.  For the (fairly large amount of) water that we drink here, we have one of those blue 5-gallon water dispensers…like the office water cooler, except there is no cooling function :-(   However, for cooking, showers, and laundry we’re using the tap water here.  Usually that seems to work out fine, but a few times (less than 10 since we’ve been here) our water will turn brown and dirty!  That’s no good when you’re trying to boil a pot of spaghetti, and would be worrisome if I were in the shower when it happens.  Luckily this has never lasted more than an hour or two, and then everything is back to normal.  Some of the people here said it was because they had been cleaning build-up out of the water tower, but I’m not sure if I believe that.

Everyone we talked to here says that the tap water is safe for drinking, and I haven’t really seen anything that would make me believe otherwise.  After all we do live in a sizeable city, and they do have water treatment facilities at work.   Since we’ve been down here, and our bodies have gotten more adjusted to everything, we’ve been a bit less careful about only drinking the bottled water.  Now for some stuff, like brushing our teeth, we’ll use the tap water, and it’s been working out fine.

Everything here is different outside of town though.  We haven’t had a lot of direct experiences, but we’ve heard some stories about people in the countryside having to get by with some pretty bad surface water (streams, ponds, etc).  We just talked to a person last weekend who was working in one of the communities to install a well for them, so that they could have a source of water that wasn’t completely contaminated.

From a broader perspective, I think we might be starting to turn the corner on clean water access.  Ten years ago, this was a huge issue that wasn’t really on anyone’s radar.  Now there have been tens or even hundreds of thousands of wells drilled in all sorts of communities around the world.  That combined with the fact that 2010 saw the point where we went from more people living in the country to more people living in urban environments, where is is at least feasible to setup clean water distribution systems if they aren’t there already, means that if we keep pressing this is a problem that we might get close to solving in the next several years.  There’s still a ton to do, but I think there’s at last reason to be positive about the situation.

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