Water is invisible to most people in developed countries.
We turn on the tap, and there it is. It’s provided free in restaurants, without our even asking for it.
We can spend money to buy water in bottles, but in America at least, we’re never far from a water fountain.
There have been revelations recently of lead or other contaminants in water supplies, but still the concept of a universal “water supply” is rarely questioned.
Water for Granted
This easy access to water is not the case in many places on earth and was almost never the case in the past. And it’s looking like it will not be the case in the future, as sea-level rise threatens fresh water supplies, energy resources are depleted, political systems lack the will or ability to maintain infrastructure, and climate change creates unpredictable rainfall and temperature patterns around the globe.
If our water systems collapse, or if we decide to simplify voluntarily, individuals and households may be surprised at the lifestyle changes that will be necessary. What we own, how we use it, and even our domestic architecture will be affected.
This was something I had to learn during two years without running water in Liberia and seven years with erratic running water in Kyrgyzstan. I offer my experiences in living without reliable water sources not because I’m the expert.
There are millions of people around the world who have managed their whole lives on a tiny fraction of the water we consider necessary. But perhaps I can describe to you what living with unpredictable water is like and make it less daunting.
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