World Water Day

Nancy Beeghly
Download: Audio icon 00456.mp3

Never before has the flush of a toilet sounded so lovely. Like the burbling brook after weeks of drought, running water is a welcome gift on the first evening of the New Year.

No water? A voice at the other end of the line told us repairmen were working overtime to fix the problem but they didn’t know how long it would take. My heart went out to the crews repairing the line in the bitter cold on a holiday.

Our eight hours of inconvenience may have seemed like an eternity to us, but as I sank into a tub of warm water that night, I could only think of the millions of people in our world who have never known the luxuries we take for granted.

I recalled the story of a friend building a school on a mission trip to Haiti several years ago. After pounding nails and hauling lumber in the heat all day, she looked forward to a shower in the outdoor shack built for that purpose.

As the cool liquid poured down on her head, she felt renewed in body and spirit --until she poked her head out and discovered the source of her water supply was a woman carrying a jug of water on her head. She’d have no more showers that week.

I drank a glass of tap water and thought of the members of Frackfree Mahoning Valley protesting and persisting to protect our water supply. As geologists and environmentalists, they realize the possible damage that comes from breaking the bones of Mother Earth.

While this is a complicated issue, one fact is clear and one question remains. Fact : Ohio and surrounding states are blessed with an abundance of fresh water. Question: Will the natural gas industry agents cut corners when out of sight to make more money more quickly and possibly poison our water?

Consider the president of D&L Energy. He directed an employee to discharge thousands of gallons of drilling mud and brine into a sewer that empties into the Mahoning River Watershed. After dark.

According to news reports, a chemical spill due to negligence in West Virginia spoiled the water for more than 300,000 people in nine counties.

According to the United Nations, “approximately 1.1 billion people people globally do not have access to safe water. As a result, many children around the world do not survive needlessly.”

A U.N. Development Program reports that a person taking a five-minute shower in the United States used more water than the average person in a developing country uses in an entire day.

World Water Day will be celebrated March 22 and the internet is flowing with good information. Awareness, after all, is the beginning of action.