Pure drinking water straight from the metropolitan tap is our privilege

Vapaa Sana
Editorial
14.2.2012

There exist certain things that we take for granted until they suddenly end or go missing.
E.g. every day we utilize electric appliances, range and keep the lights on without thinking about this. Only when the power fails or is disconnected due to an unpaid bill we realize how important staple it is.
Or, if the subway stops its services because of a strike, break-down or earthquake, we notice how much more difficult it makes our lives.
The same applies to our household water. The first thing in the morning we flush the toilet, wash our faces and need coffee or tea water. But what if water fails one day?
Then one would have to resort to his friends or buy shop water to do the chores, or just go without refreshening.
Since the water comes easily, it's incredible how much we waste it. An average GTA Torontonean consumes 253 litres or 68 gallons of water per day. This makes one cubic meter every four days.

In a civilized country we are fortunate we don't have to boil or filter to make water potable, but get it straight from the tap. In many other cities around the world this is not the case.
For instance in most parts of Africa, Asia or South-America there's no way a tourist can drink the tapwater without compromising his health. The locals meanwhile have gotten accustomed to the bacteria since childhood.
Millions of people still have to carry their household water from the village well, nearby creek or even gather the rainwater.
The same bucket method was used in Finland only half a century ago. The day of sauna especially was preceded by the big chores getting the water. It was everyday life and nobody could dream of it being any better.

The location of Toronto at the big reservoir is very handy, since there's always elixir even during drought periods.
But do we care about it enough? When snow and ice come they scatter excessive layers of salt on the sideways.
Of course the sewage and drainage water are filtered, but there's always a risk, that part of the salt will end up in Lake Ontario.
Even though it has a huge mass of water, decades strong residues can alter the ecosystem, or at least add up the cost it takes to purify it into a potable again.

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