We take running water for granted. What happens when we don’t have any? We found out a little about the issue that faces much of the developing world yesterday.
Yesterday morning, a construction crew hit the main water line in Cameron and left most of the city without fresh water for most of the day. The city workers strove to restore service as quickly as possible and had water restored to most of the city sometime yesterday evening. But as late as this morning, the water wasn’t safe to drink, and the city was flushing the lines—pouring hundreds of thousands of gallons into the ditches that feed the local rivers and creeks.
Most of us have experienced a water outage like this one. We know how it directly affects us:
- We have to buy bottled water to drink or make coffee.
- Toilets only have one reserve flush.
- Our yards get a little browner, and our gardens may wilt.
But we may not think about the economic consequences of a water supply interruption. I’ll give you one specific example. Most of the restaurants in Cameron were unable to open for business this morning. The ones that were open were in buildings that predate the city water supply and have their own wells.
Restaurants require a safe water supply to cook. Besides that, “Employees must wash hands….” How do they do that without water?Lack of clean water is a health risk. That’s what forces many businesses, including restaurants
Okay. Restaurants miss out on revenues for a day or two. Big whoop, right?
Wrong. In a small town, restaurants generate a lot of the economic activity, especially cash flow. Two days can be a significant drain on the local economy. Not to mention that restaurant workers tend to be at the lower end of the wage scale and may not have sufficient reserves to take two days without pay. Two days without pay can determine whether or not some of their families eat adequately, if at all.
All I know is that I won’t be the only one who is thankful when we once again have a safe water supply. We are truly blessed to live at a time and in a country where lack of clean, safe water is the exception, not the rule. Even today, that is not the case for much of the world.