Monday, March 24, 2014

Have your water and use it, too? World Water Day in the German hills

Last week, World Water Day brought a flurry of articles in our regional daily paper.

As you would expect in a globally aware country, there was a piece about the dire lack of water in some parts of the world, about the economic and health issues for people not having access to safe drinking water and the issues around irrigation and so forth.

Then there was the national angle - yes, there is no shortage of good fresh water in Germany - and finally, to round it out, a few column inches of comment by one of the staff writers.

His personal angle was 'how I commemorate World Water Day', and it was sadly hilarious.

His comment ended with: Today, I will not press the Save button but flush with abundance.

Coming from a drought prone part of the United States, the thought is startling but the author had a reason. Well, kind of a reason because we cannot shake the reflexive "save water", and we do not want to shake it.

The reasons of the commentator were:
a) there is an abundance of fresh water in Germany
b) the infrastructure has to be paid for anyway
c) too little effluent is bad for the sewage pipes, too

What he does not mention is that the utilities, politicians, and scientists did ask consumers to save water, and that the moving parts are not trivial.

Does this mean Germans get cheap water, what are the rates?

The rate differences are not as wide as in the U.S. but we found that our rates are higher than, for example, residential rates in Sacramento, CA. But we are still under the high prices charged in Santa FE, NM.

One day of abundant flushing will not drive the newspaper man into a water crisis.  Maybe sticking it to the water man one day a year helps to make an effort to save water the other 364 days a year.

TheEditor at the K-Landnews flushed less that day to offset the gesture.

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