Several weeks ago, I was walking in my kitchen and noticed how delightfully warm the tiles beneath my bare feet felt. Until I realized this was not a good thing.
Twenty-four hours later, a plumber was in our kitchen telling me about the leaking hot water pipe under our townhouse’s foundation that was spilling many hundreds of gallons of water underground each day. I felt sick to my stomach as I thought of people in other countries walking miles for five gallons of water a day (as we spilled some three hundred times that), our own local drought conditions, and, I admit, the potential bill of this homeowners’ fiasco.
For the next week, with our hot water valve turned off to stop the leak, we went outside to our water heater closet to turn the valve back on, for an hour a day, to get hot water to run the dishwasher, washing machine, or to take a shower, then we quickly turned it off again. The rest of the time, our faucets ran only cold. My husband and I fondly reminisced about our pre-parenthood travels to developing nations, where this kind of water usage is the norm. And it actually reminded us how unconscious (complacent — flippant, even) about water we have become in our suburban family stage of life.
Water is something we often don’t think about until we don’t have enough of it (or, looking at the current situation in Japan, too much of it). But, it’s something we can no longer afford to ignore in this day and age, and in Carlsbad. There is a water crisis going on — and I mean beyond my kitchen floor.
This is exactly why Carlsbad’s is hosting its fifth annual , in honor of the United Nations World Water Day. This year, the holiday falls on March 22, and the free Festival at the Lagoon Discovery Center will be on Saturday, March 26, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The theme of World Water Day 2011 is “Water for Cities, Responding to the Urban Challenge” and the Festival will offer all kinds of exhibits and information on water issues in our fine city and beyond — from wastewater to desalination to conservation. The Festival aims to inform Carlsbad citizens about water issues, bring us together as a community, and also to offer some fun, says Terry Gorman Brown, Membership Coordinator for the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation.
There will be a “Splashmobile” (hands-on science fun), SeaLife Aquarium's underwater habitats, Native American storytelling, children's craft booths and face-painting, live critters from Kahoots, a Carlsbad Desalination Project model, a Hubbs-Seaworld Fish Hatchery exhibit with endangered white sea bass hatchlings, Carlsbad Aqua Farm fresh oysters and mussels, wetlands and watershed models and maps, native garden tours and a rain barrel raffle.
If you can’t make the Festival, you can still learn more about Carlsbad’s water situation — and conserving water in your home during these “Drought 2” conditions — by looking at the videos and information on the Carlsbad Municipal Water District’s web site. For a more global perspective, the United Nations’ UN Water web site links to boatloads of information and organizations fighting to protect the planet’s water supply.
I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that it took a major leak under our home for me to truly tighten the reins on water usage for our family. But, I am ready to hunker down and really learn more about the current realities of this precious planetary resource — and I plan to start by taking my family to Carlsbad's World Water Day Festival next Saturday.