In Salem, we are getting a reminder of how precious clean water is. And how easy it is to screw up communications.
The past week we have had cyanotoxins in our tap water. Of course – our City did not notify us until late Tuesday – after a weekend of high water usage – and then it seems they still wanted to wait until last possible moment to notify citizens of the danger. By the time I learned of it (my e-devices were dead!) the only water left in the store was tiny bottles. According to some of my fellow Salemanders, some vulnerable people were already starting to show signs of being sick.
And, on top of that late-notice fiasco, the Federal government sent out a wide-spread alert … without indicating who, what, when, where, etc. Not specifying it was water-related, some poor non-Salem folks even though it could be a North Korea attack. Or a dangerous weather storm on its way. It was very reminiscent of the recent false missile alarm in Hawaii – people expecting for the worst!
It’s now Friday – and the water still tests as risky. The city had started shipping in water and vows to go after stores who practiced price gouging. Stores doing what they can to ration out the bottled water they get in so it gets distributed fairly.
And fortunately – I had already stored 17 two-liter bottles of water a few months ago. So I have cooking water & water for pets. And I am so grateful I took that step – even when it was a two-day pain-in-the-neck process at the time. Did – I mention that the past month, tap water makes up the majority of liquid I drink? Like 95% of it? I can’t switch to alcohol; my medications do a number on my liver so alcohol has to be a very rare treat for me. I hate to think what my alternatives would have been without it. I probably would have started swilling Coca-Cola by the gallon again. (Still tempted to but having water on hand makes me better able to resist. I suspect it is similar to being an alcoholic; the craving for that elixir will also be there, begging “just one more time”.)
This whole situation brings up myriad questions for me. Such as …
- I can’t run my house’ well as my house sits atop of Salem’s aquifer (public water): why are we getting Salem’s water from Detroit and Santiam (which is where the taint comes from) instead of our own “public water” aquifer?
- What testing does bottled water companies do to ensure they are not bottling tainted water?
- Will we still have to pay current rates on what was “toxic” water?
- If the algae blooms were made toxic by climate change, can politicians and leaders finally admit climate change exists?
- Since Salem’s water officials don’t see the citizens health as a over-riding stewardship of he job, should I ignore City Code and re-activate my well? After all, MY health and the health of my family is a HIGH priority for me. For the first time in twenty years, it seems worth breaking the local law.
Anywho, today’s prompt is “in an emergency”.
You can explore these questions – or others you imagine may come up in an emergency. Write. See what you think. See what you tell yourself, What you decide.
Want to look up past prompt? Maybe one of my past Pinterest “Ariel’s List”?
I’ve made it easy for you. You can find them in my archive on my Poetry Prompts page.
And to share today … I have “Knife Thrower”.
I have not finished my Ariel’s List of Prompts for June yet – I have been having to do some trouble-shooting on my computers. Still working on them. so … coming soon!
Let me know what you think ...