Unprepared – bottled water and less = less

Like many people who are concerned with the environmental impact of bottled water, its expense, the dangers in having private companies own public water sources, and the turning into a commodity of something that should be free, I haven’t bought a bottle of water in over a year. I’ve been using filters as well as drinking the water that comes out of the tap. Our water is sourced from the marvelous Quabbin Reservoir and tastes good so this makes sense or made sense.

Both/And not Either/Or

With the contamination of the Greater Boston water supply due to a “catastrophic rupture ” I have to modify my stance. This is another one of those “both and situations” rather than either/or.

Luckily, I had three gallons of bottled water in the basement and a bag of ice left over from a gathering. (I used to buy a bottle of water every time I went grocery shopping. )

From here on out, I will make sure to have at least 10 gallon jugs of water on hand. (This reminds me, I’ve got to restock my supply of non-perishable foods to eat in case it comes to that.)

I’ll also use my surplus of lobster pots to boil water and keep on hand.

I now have a deeper understanding of what people have faced in disasters. Having access to safe water is central to our lives.  Many people don’t, even when there isn’t a catastrophy.

Need to get my head out of the sand

Because I’m not a news junkie and often don’t turn on TV especially on Saturdays because I’m running errands, working, or just vegging, I had no idea we weren’t supposed to drink the water.   According to news reports, the criss began at 10.  I don’t know when the public began being informed, but I didn’t find out until 6:30pm-ish.

I found out when my husband called and told me because he was on his way home from his Saturday errands and stopped at the corner store to pick up something. Someone came in and asked if they had any bottled water. The clerk/owner told the customer that they were all out and that’s when my husband found out and called me, after I had washed the salad ingredients because I decided I didn’t want to go out to dinner and would cook. Said salad was tossed.

What people don’t tell

I have friends and acquaintances who call me for all sorts of bull-crap, but not one of them notified me of the water situation.  Upon hearing, I immediately called a friend who had gone to Six Flags for a birthday celebration.  I knew she was heading back to Boston and might not know of the water ban.  I didn’t make calls to other friends.  Now that I think about it, what’s up with that?  I have to be more neighborly.  Just because I’m trying not to spread gossip, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t tell important info.

Public Notice…Not 

I have gotten automated calls for all sorts of things from the Boston Public Schools, unions and politicians, but not one about this water situation. No police cruisers came down my street announcing the water band on bullhorns as they reportedly did in other communities. Haven’t seen any fliers, either.

Less is Less

I have always known, to quote my sister in St. Louis, that “less is less.”

  • Less taxes = less services.
  • Less maintenance = less prevention.
  • Less oversight = less solid work.

Our infrastructure is seriously inadequate. Think of all the jobs repairing the infrastructure would create. The jobs and the sense of well-being of having well-run, appropriately-maintained systems and not just adequate, cross-our-fingers that nothing happens to the systems we do have.

Workmanship? Integrity?

The new backup system failed. In an article in today’s Globe, Tunnel failure came before backup could be finished , reporter Beth Daley writes:

The Hultman tunnel was always seen as a priority, and even as ratepayers debated costs across the entire MWRA system, there was relatively little argument about the need to upgrade the old aqueduct.
“You always need redundancy,’’ said Joe Favaloro, executive director of the MWRA advisory board, which advocates for ratepayers. He said it was unclear how bad the problem is, and what costs would eventually fall to ratepayers.

“You don’t budget for catastrophic failures on pipes less than a decade old,’’ he said. “The irony is of course that the [much older] tunnel is fine. The piece that collapsed is less than a decade old.’’

We will find out what caused the breach in the pipe but one has to wonder…was it inferior materials, shoddy workmanship, experimentation with new at the expense of the tried and true. “The much older tunnel is fine…”


About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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