Saturday, January 09, 2010

Water Woes

It's been pretty chilly down in South Louisiana lately... so cold that we've resorted to wrapping our pipes and eating our frozen neighbors for sustenance. And today we woke up and did not have any water, so naturally we thought our pipes had frozen over.

Betty sent me outside with a hair dryer and an extension cord, and I blow dried my hair and hands to stay warm while I tried to think of something useful to do.

Betty then called her dad, who explained that I needed to do the following things:

1. Aim the hair dryer at the frozen pipes.
2. Once the ice in the pipe melts, turn the valve on the pipe so that water stops being pumped into the house.
3. Turn on some of the other faucets outside the house so that when the water melts the pipes would let the water flow out of the pipes, instead of expanding and causing the pipes to burst.

As it turned out, our pipes weren't frozen at all. Our parish's water pressure had fallen during a hard freeze, so nobody in the parish had water. And who knows, if the water pressure hadn't gone down then maybe my pipes would have frozen and burst.

I'm too young for leaky pipes.

Living without water for two hours taught us how dependent we are on our fresh water supply. Without running water we couldn't brush our teeth, wash our faces, make coffee or use indoor plumbing.

The big environment topic right now is global warming, and the new trend is to join the "green" movement - eating organic foods, not using pesticides, and recylcing your neighbor's corpse after eating them after a hard freeze.

But the new topic in the next decade will be the "blue" movement - ie, using less water in our daily lives. As the polar ice caps melt, and as glaciers around the world melt, and especially as the human population continues to increase, there's going to be less fresh water for everybody. Water will become a commodity, like oil.

On the good side, maybe we'll institute public baths in an effort to save water.

At some point I'll have to learn how to use less water in my day-to-day life. But for now, I need to turn on the faucets just a bit to let the water drip out, in case the pipes freeze, so that my pipes don't burst.

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