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MMWD Blog: Think Blue Marin

Welcome to our blog! Written by staff at MMWD, “Think Blue Marin” explores all things water in south and central Marin—water supplies, conservation, new projects, watershed management, and more.

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Sep 08

Just Water

Posted on September 8, 2017 at 11:56 AM by Ann Vallee

by Charlene Burgi

I woke this morning to the rumble of thunder and the pitter-patter of raindrops here in Lassen. The open bedroom window allowed the fragrance of freshly fallen rain to permeate the room. The rain was enough to wash the dust from the foliage of the plants, yet not enough to quench the parched soil. Still, what a blessing after the intense heat we have all experienced over the past week.

 pump
Water hand pump
 field trip
 Water bucket relay
This act of nature continued a theme I had been thinking about—that is, how easy it is to take water for granted. While attending the local county fair last week, I toured a display of antique water-carrying devices. There was a hand pump taken from a local kitchen some years back. The device required pumping a lever to bring well water to the surface before it could pour from the spout. Another device was more advanced yet very noisy: a motorized pump that moved water to the desired location. 

These water-moving devices reminded me of an activity MMWD’s conservation specialists teach as part of the district’s free field trips for schools. The specialists explain how children in some other parts of the world still need to carry water to their destination via buckets and other assorted vessels. They also talk about how heavy water is—more than eight pounds per gallon—and how it takes energy to transport it. The students are then divided into two teams for a relay race in which they have to carry buckets of water one at a time and pour them into a large container. The game is to see which team can fill the container first. Even as the kids are racing to complete the task, they become very careful not to splash the water out of their buckets in order to maximize the amount of water saved to win the game ... conservation at its best! More importantly, the students realize how very lucky we are to merely turn on a faucet for a cool and clean drink of water. 

We use water all the time—washing clothes and dishes, bathing, brushing our teeth—and yet often don’t give it much thought. During the recent heat wave, we relied on water to cool off, run air conditioners, hydrate ourselves and our plants—not to mention fight fires around the state. We depend on water for our very lives, yet rarely do we consider how our lives would change if we needed to bucket and sterilize our own drinking water to survive. In the past I have heard that water falls free from the sky, and it does. It’s another matter to store, treat and transport it to our homes. Luckily, for most of us all we have to do is turn on a faucet. This blogger would like to take the time to thank those at MMWD for making it that simple!

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