Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Not A Drop to Drink

I think Bub and Pie might be right. I'm not quite ready to throw in the towel. So until I figure out what I'm going to do, I'm just going to ramble on as per usual. Thank you to everyone for your kind and insightful comments. They really did help. A lot. And not just because you stroked my ego six ways from Sunday, though I can't dispute that it was thoroughly enjoyable. I especially appreciated hearing from the folks I didn't know were reading. Nice to meetcha!

So anyway.

Some of you may know that Georgia is in trouble.

Gross mismanagement by the Army Corps of Engineers (though they are not the only governmental body at fault in this debacle) and persistent drought conditions have resulted in a serious water deficit. Our lakes, rivers and tributaries are drying up and though estimates vary, the long and short of it is, that very soon, we will be out of water.

That's pretty flippin scary.

I'll be the first to admit that I have always taken water for granted. I use my dishwasher, washing machine, and shower without giving a second thought to how much water I'm using or where it's coming from.

At least, I did.

However, I have always been conscious of certain wasteful practices. I don't run the dishwasher unless it's full and I don't wash single articles of clothing. I adjust the water level in the washer apppropriately. We turn off the water when we brush our teeth.

But now that it's clear we are running out of water, I have been very conscious of every, single drop. Unfortunately, it's sadly apparent that conservation efforts now will do little to arrest or even slow the fatal drain on our state's resources.

So let's think about that. In three months (give or take) 5 million people could be without water. That's not an exaggeration, that's not an embellishment, that's not paranoia. It's a fact.

Some of you may wonder how that happened. We Georgians wonder as well. It's a complex problem that goes beyond a woeful lack of rain. A lot of us had no idea that the Army Corps of Engineers was releasing 5 million gallons a day downstream to preserve an endangered species of mussel.

Let's look at the logic of that.

We have a 3 major lakes that are rapidly going dry. We have 5 million people who rely on those lakes for water. We have persistent drought conditions and a serious rain deficit that is the worst it's been since 1931.

And yet...we did not go to drought level 4 (no outdoor watering) until a month ago. Many people saw the writing on the wall and started conserving water a long time ago, but not enough of us to make any significant difference.

And every day, 5 million gallons are being released to protect mussels. These mussels are a cash crop you see. And the economic implications should that crop fail, are widely lamented by those who rely on those profits for their livelihood.

Of course. The almighty dollar speaks again. Screw people. In the worst case scenario, a lack of water would create an almost unsatiable market and the potential for ridiculous profits. So not releasing the water would be the least economically advantageous thing to do. Either way, capitalism benefits while people suffer. It's a frightening prospect.

Probably most distressing of all is the fact that Florida and Alabama, where these mussels live and whose inhabitants are reaping the benefits of our benevolence, are not practicing conservation methods.

So again....a city with 5 million people is perilously close to being without potable water. What will this mean for us?

Simply put, disaster.

In fact, the governor, Sonny Perdue, asked Bush to declare Georgia a disaster site, but that was somewhat eclipsed in the national news by the fires in California.

This drought is not a recent thing. It has been going on for years. So why haven't we been researching alternative water sources, water purification methods, building desalination facilities, and implementing strict conservation protocols YEARS ago??

I don't know. What I do know, is that it's freaking me right the flock out.

Now, I tend to be pretty blase about disaster doomsaying. The whole Y2k thing? I didn't buy so much as a can of soup. Husband, who is an IT professional, assured me it was bunk, and I believed him. He was right, of course. It was somewhat plausible bunk, but bunk nonetheless.

I don't keep a disaster preparedness kit, we have no evacuation plan. I call it the "ostrich defense". If I don't think about it, it won't happen. I don't watch disaster movies because they threaten the fine rainbow filmed bubble of my denial.

But this...this has got me scared. And if you live in Georgia, it's a threat you should take seriously as well. I have started storing water, which makes me feel at once foolish and empowered. Sheepish, but safe.

I'm buying cheap drinking water in 2 gallong plastic jugs from the grocery store, and saving tap water for household needs. But even doing that I wonder if all this storing that's going on isn't causing a greater drain on the already ailing lakes.

But we have to have water. And if it really does run out, the cost of bottled water will skyrocket. If we have to import water from other states (there is talk of buying water from Lake Michigan) the cost to transport, treat and store it will make tap water astronomically expensive as well. People will be fighting each other in the streets for water.

Recommendations vary, but sources say that you should store some water for every person in your family, regardless of where you live, or what the current conditions are. FEMA recommends a one week supply of at least one gallon of water per person per day. That doesn't seem like much, especially in our situation where it's unclear if or when relief will come. I'm shooting for two gallons per person per day and I hope to amass at least a couple of week's worth.

I've been doing a lot of reading about the issue of storing water and what I've found is that you should not use milk and orange juice jugs for drinking water storage because even if they are cleaned and sterilized carefully, food borne organisms could taint the water stored in them.

You can purchase food grade storage containers from army surplus or outdoor equipment stores, which is what FEMA recommends for storing tap water. You can ensure freshness by adding 1/8 tsp. chlorine bleach to each gallon that you store. It is not harmful to drink in such small amounts and will discourage the growth of bacteria.

I am using disinfected milk and orange juice jugs to store the filtered and purified tap water we will use for washing, flushing toilets, and watering the animals. If it comes to that.

I keep telling myself I am being silly, but myself doesn't want to listen. What myself wants to do is pile gallon upon gallon of water to the ceiling and then gaze at it with smug satisfaction.

And I find myself trying to quench a thirst that isn't really there, which is terribly disconcerting.

Perhaps instead of being reactionary, I am being naieve.

Our society has become comfortably blind to the prospect of disaster. Katrina hasn't changed that. The World Trade Center attacks haven't changed that. Tsunamis and tornadoes and floods and drought haven't changed that. Because those are things that happen to other people. We treat those who plan for the unthinkable as lunatics and accuse them of borrowing trouble. We call them Nervous Nellies and secretly question their grip on reality.

But are they really all that crazy? No. They are simply practicing common sense.

So I suppose what it comes down to is that my common sense has won out over embarassment and denial. And the wall of water grows ever higher.

Here's a hot stock might be the time to invest in Aquafina.


  • At 4:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    am so glad you decided to stick around with the rest of us.

    and i am grabbing this for the Just Posts.

  • At 4:46 PM, Blogger flutter said…

    I opened my mouth, and jen's voice came out

  • At 5:27 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    One of my bestest friends lives in Atlanta and she's singing your song. She is petrified about the prospect of running out of water, especially since she runs a B&B out of her house, so she's stockpiling water and has been for months. I don't know how much she has, but she's my age, and remembers recessions, so I'm guessing she's got a swimming pool in her basement.

    Good for you for thinking about this. Being from LA, I was brought up to be very water aware and have always been careful about wastage. But even I have cut back. We DO NOT need to shower daily, nor do we need long showers. That alone saves a ton of water!

  • At 7:09 PM, Blogger Sharon L. Holland said…

    I stockpiled water for awhile. After about a year, those plastic water containers collapse on themselves and leak, leaving surprise water stains on my ceiling or floors.

  • At 8:14 PM, Blogger Kat said…

    So glad to hear you are sticking around, especially since I only recently found your blog.

    I would definitely be stocking up on water. I think you are being wise, not a Nervous Nelly. Such a scary situation.

  • At 8:34 PM, Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said…

    Phew! Glad you'll be around for a while longer (but don't give up your book dreams!).

    I have a friend who lives in So. Cal, and they had, what?, 1 inch of rain in 6 months? And she has neighbors who water their lawn regularly! I don't know how they manage! I truly hope that things do not get worse for you all in Atlanta, but I would start buying big jugs of water just in case.

  • At 8:39 PM, Blogger Angela said…

    Water shortages suck and make everything stink. Especially when people don't flush.

    Hope you get plenty of rain.

  • At 9:14 PM, Blogger Candygirlflies said…

    Praying for rain, and relief for your beautiful state...

    I'm so glad you've decided to keep writing!! Coming out of "lurking" to let you know you're one of my favourites...


  • At 9:49 PM, Blogger vanessa said…

    I live in Woodstock, GA and I'm worried too. It's amazing the things we learn to not take for granted.

    I think I'm going to have to increase my stockpile. Seems a visit to Sam's Club might be in order.

  • At 12:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Very scary. I say stockpile away. Glad to hear you are not closing up shop.

  • At 12:58 AM, Blogger Sharon Matherson said…

    I read last week (sorry I can no longer remember where) that while Columbus, GA is under mandantory watering restrictions like the rest of us in north Georgia, the folks across the river in Pell City, AL were free to water lawns and wash cars as they pleased. And all the while our water is sent downstream to ensure the survival of some mussels.

    I'm on a well, so my fear is not as immediate as yours. But the well serves 8 or 9 houses, and I hope and pray they are doing their part to conserve.

  • At 2:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Glad to see you have not thrown in the towel (a dry towel I expect).I would miss you greatly if you stopped blogging.

    I have one tip for you: If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down.

  • At 9:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm so glad you're staying put! Your words are very inspiring to me on such a regular basis, and I would hate to miss that. Because I'm selfish like that.

    Crossing my fingers for rain for your area in such abundance that the problem is no longer hanging over your heads. And I'm also hoping that those in charge get their collective heads out of their collective asses and get the conservation and mussel situation sorted out. That's asinine, save the mussels just to forget about the humans. That kind of thing just burns me.

  • At 10:40 AM, Blogger said…

    My good friend lives in Atlanta, as well and has farm animals. She's freaking and doesn't know exactly what to do, either.

    Praying for lots and lots of rain...

  • At 12:25 PM, Blogger Amy Y said…

    That is so, so scary.
    I'm sorry that you guys are having to go through that. I lived in GA for a year and she will always have a special place in my heart...

    Thinking about you and your family.

  • At 12:49 PM, Blogger Ms. Skywalker said…

    Was scared to click over today; fear you wouldn't be here. So glad that you are.

    Since I live in Michigan, the water issue is interesting to me, especially the proposal of purchase from one of our lakes. This topic comes up frequently within the state; met with very strong feelings on each side.

    Our lakes, too, are drying up, and in addition to a source for water, the lakes are also a source of income for many living in the tourist towns that surround them.

    Short term, it may alleviate the issue, but long term, the mess is ours, each of ours, despite the state we reside in. And somehow, the message of conservation must be taught and practiced, or there will be nothing left to teach.

    A bookmark that I have reads: "We have not inherited the earth from our parents, we are borrowing it from our children".

    We MUST live as such.

  • At 1:33 PM, Blogger Liv said…

    Girl, it's awful. We have been on restrictions all summer, so there's no surprise. I just don't understand the wisdom of sending water to other states. The river here is so low that you can walk out to the center. Another hot tip? If you have to draw a bath consider recycling the water for the plants. Also, there is a company in Las Vegas (also not a lot of water) that sells shower heads for water conservation.

  • At 1:36 PM, Blogger Foofa said…

    This is so scary. Plain and simple, running out of water is not something that should happen. I hope it rains a lot soon.

  • At 3:06 PM, Blogger Tootsie said…

    We live in the ATL are too. Hubby and I watched the special last week and came up with some additional measures we could take to cut back our usage. We hadn't considered building up an emergency supply, but it's something to think about. Better safe than sorry.

  • At 8:22 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    I cannot speak for Alabama, but quite a bit of Florida (if not all of it) is under water restrictions too.

  • At 11:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was not aware of this until reading your blog entry. Yikes. We don't have this problem in my state -- yet anyway. Thanks for sounding the alarm.

  • At 11:16 AM, Blogger painted maypole said…

    i've got few kind words for the army corps of engineers down here in NOLA. When we were inundated with rain last week I was hoping some of it would make it up your way. no such luck.


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