A huge water main break happened right here in my home town on Saturday, causing more than 2 million people in Massachusetts to be left without clean tap water. The break caused a water crisis unseen in the states history. An immediate order for residents to boil tap water rapidly for at least one minute before using the water for cooking and drinking was issued for the 30 local communities that were effected. On Saturday, while at work, I received a pre-recorded call from the town stating that there had been a water break, but that Weston's water supply had not been compromised. Then, two hours later, I received another pre-recorded call ordering Weston residents to boil our tap water, as it had now been deemed unsafe.
The confusion really set in when in just a few hours later, the phone rang again with the news that Weston's water supply was safe and there was no need to boil water. A scrawling message was broadcast on the local TV stations, all night, listing the affected town's water supplies, and Weston was not one of them. Turns out, it happened here, but it did not affect us. Local TV news aired the mayhem across the state, as people swarmed supermarkets with panic, depleting their supplies of any and all bottled water. Restaurants were forced to either shut down, or limit their service and coffee shops were all but put out of business for a day or two.
It makes one think about how much we take for granted. How lucky we are that we can turn the faucet on in our marbled bathrooms and not think much about the safety of the water that streams through it. About how when something like this happens, we can travel in our gassed up autos, to our food filled grocery stores and buy ample supplies of bottled water with the money in our wallets. About the fact that we have the electricity/gas to allow us to boil the water deemed unsafe and that we can afford to be inconvenienced for a few days.
There are so many others in the world who cannot say the same.
I, for one, am humbled, and although I have not been affected, this crisis makes me think about those who live without safe water on a daily basis.
And I wonder why such a disparity exists between people in the world. As I turn on my faucet and brush my teeth this morning, I will think about why I am part of the hundreds of millions who can.