Where The Water Flows

I find it somewhat unusual the degree to which I post about water. Water is something that most of us, most of the time, take for granted. However, I have found water to be the source both of a great deal of enjoyment as well as a surprisingly large amount of concern [1] [2]. I have also, in general, felt rather drawn to water as being symbolic of my tides and moods [3], of the way in which water can be a source of life or death, of calm reflection or deep and powerful concern. Whether one has too much water, or too little, or water in the wrong place, water has played a major role in my own reflections and life, whether that reflection has been on storms, [4] [5] flooding or raining, [6] [7] [8] [9] or on the logistical problems of bringing water where it is needed [10].

It should come as little surprise, then, given my extensive commentary on water and the problems involving water in my life, that I should find myself awoken this morning by a concern about water that needed to be addressed, even if it is a Sabbath. This morning, as I was pleasantly daydreaming in bed, I heard the sound of flowing water, which I found to be odd and somewhat disconcerting. So, I went and investigated the source of the sound to find my sink overflowing with water without any of the faucets being on. I heard the sound of the washing machine upstairs and realized that the water going down the sink drain upstairs in the utility room was coming up through the drain downstairs and then overflowing the bathroom sink to end up on the floor of two rooms. Seeing the gravity of the situation, I let my roommates know so that something could be done about it, as it is beyond my limited competence in dealing with plumbing concerns.

At any rate, being the engineering sort of person, I ponder often the problem of water. In most places where I have lived in my life, water has been the source of both threat and opportunity. Like most people, I have lived near lakes and rivers and streams for the vast majority of my life. After all, most people live in places that are near to ready sources of water, or they engage in massive works of civic infrastructure (like aqueducts) to bring water from afar if it is lacking in sufficient qualities nearby (Los Angeles comes readily to mind here). At other times, however, the same water that provides life and cleanliness can also provide danger, and so concerns about flooding are real and serious whether one lives in Northern Thailand or Western Pennsylvania or Central Florida or in the Willamette Valley, and I have lived in all of those places, or a great deal of other places as well all around the world.

The problem of water is a greatly vexing one. We need massive amounts of it to live our lives comfortably, and yet our water sources are greatly vulnerable either to excess or scarcity. We use water to give life to the desert [11] and then live in insecurity that someone or something will take that water away from us [12] [13]. As a result, once the initial pleasure of good times fades, we live on the knife’s edge, never knowing knowing whether a year will bring floods or drought, neither of which we feel ourselves able to handle on a consistent basis. Too little water and our plants die, we ourselves wither, and our own standard of life (such as bathing) is greatly affected. Too much water and our homes are flooded and our lives are imperiled by the rising waters that all too quickly wind their way to the sea away from our grasp. If we take our water from the ground, we find our land sink beneath our feet as the aquifers vanish. If we take our waters from a river, we find the water evaporates in reservoirs or overflows its levees and threatens our homes and businesses and lives, or we find that some community or nation upstream takes that water for themselves and leaves us dry.

And yet, despite these worries, one tends not to read very much about water problems unless one looks for it. I suppose, given my own life and interests and concerns, that I have been among those people with a deep concern for water and the vulnerability it brings to life. If I am not a particularly skilled person at acquiring resources (it is probably the greatest shortfall in my own life, and the cause of much of my suffering), at least my concern with such matters appears to have been fruitful in understanding the narrow balance in which comfortable life exists between scarcity and excess. Someday (soon, I hope) I may find that comfortable balance for myself, if such a place still exists in our world.

[1] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/got-flooding/

[2] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/08/22/my-world-is-a-flood/

[3] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/08/25/i-am-no-better-than-my-fathers/

[4] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/10/29/be-prepared-for-hurricane-sandy/

[5] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/10/25/what-makes-a-perfect-storm/

[6] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/i-guess-it-rains-down-in-africa/

[7] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/book-review-ranbows-for-rainy-days/

[8] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/here-comes-the-rain-again/

[9] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/08/11/the-rain-in-mae-rim-stays-mainly-in-the-plain/

[10] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/11/06/if-life-was-more-like-a-game/

[11] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/01/17/book-review-cadillac-desert/

[12] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/01/17/examining-the-cadillac-desert-doomsday-scenarios/

[13] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2013/06/25/beggar-thy-neighbor/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in History, Musings and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Where The Water Flows

  1. Pingback: Good Fences Make Good Neighbors | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Infrastructure Improvements | Edge Induced Cohesion

  3. Pingback: Take Me To The River | Edge Induced Cohesion

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