Sunday, 13 November 2016 18:36

Pass the bucket, please

The dams are running dry, they say. Measures may have to be taken, they say. It’s early November. Considering we haven’t had rain in about half a year, somehow this should not come as a surprise. And still, it is only now that authorities are announcing there may be water cuts in the farming industry. Urban centres will not be affected.

Now, I know nothing about how water is distributed among the various sectors, but I do know that the gardens in my neighbourhood have been abundantly watered, terraces washed and the sidewalks carefully rinsed daily. Even as I am typing this, I hear water gushing in the dark somewhere underneath my balcony, just as I do every night for a good 10 minutes or so.

Maybe it’s because I grew up with a rule of ‘one boiler full of hot water per day’ – the kind that’s on your bathroom wall – for our family of five, that I am forever careful with water. I hear a running tap somewhere and I feel the urge to jump up and close it. It’s bad!

Probably having lived in Sub-Saharan Africa for several years has affected me, too. Water cuts were a way of life and when we did have water, we were super careful with it. Shower water, dishwashing water, floor washing water… it was all recycled, mostly used to water plants and trees.

I even lived in a village for a while with no running water. You ordered a big metal barrel of it from a boy with a cart pulled by a donkey. At night you’d be carrying a bucket of that water into the shower.  I still have vivid memories of it – nice memories actually. You savoured that water – it made a splashing sound very different from what I hear now, under my balcony.

But maybe this street and bush and terrace washing business is just the way of life here. The other day I even saw a woman hosing down her iron fence around the house, bar by bar. And that was one long fence and her aim was not great – so much water down the drain!

But maybe citizens should have the right to use the water as they please – after all, they are paying for it. However, now it’s November, water supplies are shrinking and there is no rain in sight.

I am ready for water cuts, they will not faze me. I’ll take my bucket into the shower and dwell in African memories. But still…

It seems to me there should be some sort of planning happening. Ideally before October? Some rules,or, at least, some guidelines for water usage enforced throughout the year? A strategy ready for, if not the long term, at least the short term?

After all, if there is no rain, someone will need to keep hosing down those terraces and sidewalks.

Article as published in the Cyprus Weekly of November 4th 2016 

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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