Monday, March 7, 2011

Taken for Granted: Water

Before I lived in Ukraine I never gave a thought to water.  I drank freely from the ever-flowing tap.  I took a shower whenever I wanted to.  Living abroad is good for recognizing the things that much of the world lives without - such as clean, running water.

In our town, there is running water for five hours every day.  For the remaining 19 hours the taps are dry.  There are theories as to why this is the case and most likely it has something to do with the poor state of the water pipes.  So much water is lost through the old, leaky pipes that the city has decided to ration everyone's water to 2 hours in the morning, 1 hour at noon, and 2 hours in the evening.  Just imagine having to structure your life around when there is water - taking showers, cleaning clothes, washing the dishes, mopping the floor, flushing the toilet.  Some people deal with this inconvenience by storing water in the bathtub and filling up buckets near the toilet.  Others, us included, get more sophisticated by installing a water tank and water pump.  The tank is filled during the 5 hours of running water and the pump provides the taps with a constant flow.  It's a blessing that is easy to take for granted.  (And we're not even talking countries where water is carried from a well or worse.)

So, now that we have "running" water, the next step is to clean it.  Some local people drink the water from the tap, even without boiling it.  But we've heard enough stories to be more than leery.  Hepatitis, typhoid, parasites, amoebas.  As a safeguard, our drinking water is processed through an expensive Amway water treatment system.  We change the filter once a year and after looking at this past year's filter, I'm not taking my glass of clean drinking water for granted.
I don't think I need to tell you which one is the new filter! :)

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