Drought


It is now many weeks ago we had some rain. The grass on the fields turned brown and the plants in the vegetable garden need regular watering in order to survive drought and heat. It has been unceasingly hot for over two weeks now with temperatures above the 30 degrees. The 2400 liter rainwater I use to water the vegetables lasted until a couple of weeks ago, since then I have to use tap water.

Yesterday I was reading an article in a local newspaper that was commenting about the fact the local administration prohibits to use tap water for other purposes than personal hygiene and drinking. If you are caught watering your garden or washing your car you risk a fine from € 25,– until € 500,–.  I was surprised because, besides the long period of heat and no rain I was still seeing water in rivers and smaller streams. The local administration is pointing at the water used by the many gardens that people hold on the river banks as the main reason for water shortage.

It is true there is little water in some rivers but nature is greener than ever, the drought is superficial. Last winter we had huge amounts of rain and snow and most springs are working normally which was not the case last year when the rivers where dry and the more superficial springs ran out of water. But no limitations to the water usage since it kept raining regularly, only delivering very little quantities of water.

The article continues to make a point on the maintenance of riverbeds. Instead of cleaning the beds from natural debris like trees, mud and stones the only thing that is done is rising the river banks, not giving sufficient protection when there is really a lot of water coming down. This year in early spring the rivers caused several floodings even though the water amounts were not extremely huge. Apparently the main reason for the river beds not showing any water is not the shortage of water caused by the gardens (having the same issue since there is no water to be seen) but the fact for many years now there had been no maintenance to the river beds. The water is flowing deep under the rocks and eventually pops out somewhere mere downstream.

The writer is clearly questioning the starting point of the water usage limitations. It is very possible that the water company responsible for the water delivery to not only the inlands where I live but also the cities on the Adriatic coast is afraid of water shortages. Water is a power business here in Italy. A week before the Italians voted against water being managed by private companies the water management of the whole area went over to the company already responsible for natural gas and electricity delivery. Dirty game. Since money is coming from the coast area the inland is less important and is asked to reduce water consumption on behalf of the bigger cities only because they fear a water shortage.

To me this is a clear example of political power games that serve no purpose than making sure a small group of people is making money. There is absolutely no common sense nor equality to be found here. If we were managing the available water in the interest of all and with common sense applied by everyone there should be never a real water shortage. The truth is that water is spilled every day, both consciously as unconsciously due to ignorance. Ignorance as in giving your lawn so much water that is floods out of the garden over the street or while sweeping your house and dumping the dirt in the toilet, flushing it up to ten times until finished cleaning.

The average amount of water used per person per day is 191 liter. For our family it equals 23 cubic meters a month. Being ware of the water we use we managed to lower our consumption from 20 to 14, including watering the garden when there is no rain water available. During summer we take almost a shower a day, we use the washing machine normally, we use the dishwasher once a day. We do not water the grass, the trees and the vegetables with more than necessary, we try to avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily, we close the tap when brushing our teeth and we limit shower time to what you need to clean, shave etc. No big deal and no discomfort at all. Only for our small town a reduction like our would lead to almost 28 cubic meters of water saving a year per person. That is a reduction of billions of cubic meters in Italy alone. All water that does not need to be filtered, pumped, distributed and paid for. As long water is privatized water consumption reduction is not economically interesting so please keep on using your water. Do not consider that all these billions of cubic meters are polluted by soap, chemicals and medicines and need to be cleaned again.

What a waste! Lets take our responsibility. As you can see in this example the effect of normalizing your personal water usage on a large scale is huge. Lets use our common sense for a better world and not only with water consumption!

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