The inconvenience of convenience

Hands Water Ocean by Danilo Rizzuti

On Monday when I got to work, someone asked me how my weekend was. My response was, “it was a rather interesting weekend, I had to learn to live without running water for four days”.

I have lived in cities all of my life and have always enjoyed accessing water and electricity on demand. Living a day or two without electricity is relatively easy, even with all my gadgets and gizmos that need electricity to power up. It gives me an opportunity to (excuse the pun) switch off from the beeps and merry tunes of modern life. But, living without running water made me appreciate how much I take having water on tap for granted, how much I am dependent on water and most importantly, how much I have been wasting.

The water supply to our block of flats was unexpectedly turned off. Fortunately, we were not completely without water. The local council had arranged for a water tanker filled with drinking water for the four days we didn’t have water. Residents in our multi-storey apartment block came to fill their buckets only for essential use – showers and baths were a no go – for drinking and essential ablutions only. This was the first time I got a taste of what it was like to live with a water budget.

The conveniences in our lives, are just that, convenient. They don’t take anything else into account. Taking a cup full of water at a time out of my bucket of council supplied water, made me realise just how much clean, drinkable water, I’m letting run down the drain, while I go about my daily routines with getting ready for the day to making supper.

The four days without running water were not an inconvenience; in fact, it brought back a much needed sensibility and reality check on how I use water and how I should be taking care of every drop. Having access to water at our fingertips comes too cheaply, compared to the costs of getting it there in the first place. You can only appreciate the true value of water, only when you are without it.

My glass of water tastes so much sweeter.

Hin Wah Li – Researcher and Content Developer @ Project 90×2030

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