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Letter: Water a simple, vital element

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014 10:21 p.m. CDT

To the Editor:

Not everyone would agree with my “love affair with water,” especially those who have suffered under the effects of flood damage. There is no equality in the distribution of water, the most important element for human life on Earth.

The fascinating thing about water is that the Earth’s greenhouse effect has kept about the same amount of water on our planet as was here two billion years ago, but in varying amounts of its different forms (liquid, solid or gas). Too much flooding? Too much snow? It will be retained in some form. Somewhere, but not necessarily where we want it.

Appreciation of water began very early for me. Clearly, I saw the tranquil beauty of bright, sparkling water racing over stony creek beds, and I treasured the magnificence of a tumbling waterfall. But more than for its beauty, I now have a profound appreciation of the ever-ready source for a drink when one is thirsty, or the rush of a cleansing shower at the turn of a faucet. In my childhood, we did not have this luxury, now considered a necessity.

My mother bathed her four children in a round galvanized tub when I was a child. We fought to be first! The water had to be brought in from a rain-water cistern in the yard usually by the children, and it was heated on a wood-burning cook stove.

Bringing the drinking water from the well was an even greater chore. If there was no wind to turn the windmill, water needed to be hand-pumped from a deep well and carried across the road to fill a stone crock which held the family’s drinking water.

And what about toilet facilities? Not so convenient. A path led to a little place behind the house called the outhouse. Need I say more?

Water covers 70 to 75 percent of Earth’s surface, and while it is not equally plentiful, it also is not equally clean in all places on Earth. Man has made it dirty, but by his ingenuity and technology, can and does make it clean again.

With modern plumbing and a plentiful supply, many of us are not concerned about water, but if you are interested in knowing more about its influence on our livelihood, talk with a farmer. My love affair with water shall continue. To appreciate a simple necessity is a choice. Or is it a duty?

Clara Nieman


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