Sunday, 12 May 2013

Water? What water?

Having just returned from a cruise – where I spent most of the time surrounded by water – I did not expect that when I got home I would not have access to any water ... but that is exactly what has happened today.

My wife and I went out at about 11.00am this morning to do some shopping. On our return at 12.30pm we passed several larger water tankers that were parked near to the local water tower, apparently pumping water into it. As soon as we had unpacked our shopping I went to fill the kettle from the mains tap in our kitchen to make some tea ... and nothing came out! Our fresh water supply was not working!

I checked the water supply company's website, and discovered that there was a major leak in the local water main network that was currently being repaired. It also advised me that bottles of water were available for collection from a nearby recreation area. We went to collect some water ... but all that was there were some empty pallets and a very sorry-looking representative from the water supply company. He explained that a further delivery of water was due at 3.00pm (it was approximately 1.15pm when we had this conversation) and that the mains water supply should be back online by late afternoon.

Not wishing to wait for nearly two hours before getting any water, my wife and I set off for the local supermarket in the hope that we could buy a couple of bottles to keep us going until 3.00pm. The local supermarket had no bottled water, but a larger branch that was a bit further away did have some ... so we bought enough to last us for the rest of the day.

On our way home we passed the bottled water collection point ... just as the promised bottled water was being delivered ... an hour early! We asked the representative of the water company what was happening and he told us that demand had been so great that the delivery had been made earlier than expected. He also told us that the repairs were taking longer than expected, and that the mains supply should be restored by early evening. Acting on his advice we took enough bottled water to last us for a day or two, and when we got home I checked that my neighbours knew that the bottle water was available for collection.

At 3.00pm two police cars drove past our house at high speed in the direction of the bottled water collection point (I understand from a neighbour that there had been a minor confrontation at the collection point involving some of the people who were trying to collect bottles of water when it looked as if the supply was about to run out), and at 3.30pm water began to come out of tap in the kitchen ... but the water pressure was very low.

It is now 4.00pm ... and there is no sign that the normal mains water supply will be available for some time to come (it appears that a further delivery of bottled water is now scheduled for tomorrow morning!) ... so I suppose that I should follow my neighbour's advice, which was 'Say calm ... and drink beer!'

10 comments:

  1. Water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink!

    I've heard that before somewhere.

    Jim

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  2. Jim Duncan,

    I think that it is a quote from the 'Rhyme of the Ancient Wargamer'.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  3. Hi Bob,

    I thought you routinely used Perrier Water in any event....;-)

    It does make you realise though how much we take such things for granted when they are not there!

    I hope all is back to full pressure as soon as possible.

    All the best,

    DC

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  4. David Crook,

    Perrier! Do I look like I can afford to sponsor comedians!

    On a more serious note, it did not take long for the 'grab more than I need just in case' attitude to come to the fore on the streets of Shooters Hill. As for the water supply ... well it is back on ... for the moment.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. The wargamer version is actually 'Water, water everywhere and not a drop to wash'.

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  6. Xaltotun of Python,

    How true! How very true!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  7. I understand that beer is a very versatile food, and, barring the absence of B vitamins (I think) can supply the shortage of water AND food. I could of course be wrong about this, but how much of a hardship could it be to find out?

    Living in the shaky south sea islands, one is advised through public media to be well prepared for natural disasters. When the September 2010 quake hit we had at least plenty of water laid by and were reasonably prepared in other ways; but the event proved to be an awakener that left us very well prepared when the more destructive February 2011 quake struck.

    That is the upside of living in disaster prone country. In such a tranquil place as Great Britain it is too easy to leave oneself unprepared for emergency... :-):-)

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  8. Shows how close life is to catastrophe... I always think that the US 'preppers' that you see on TV look a little silly then you hear of something like this and it makes you think....

    Cheers,

    Pete.

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  9. Archduke Piccolo,

    I think that most modern beers are less wholesome than they were even twenty or thirty years ago ... although the growth of local micro-breweries made be bucking that trend. (Breweries in the UK became more industrialised and tended to produce lighter and more refined beers.)

    Because the UK is in an area where natural disasters are very rare, we tend to be unprepared for any form of disaster. There used to be a well-organised Civil Defence organisation run by local councils ... but very few have anything in place nowadays. Since the end of the 'Cold War' it was seen as redundant. I know that the emergency services and hospitals have disaster plans ... but these are often produced outside of a coordinated framework.

    We lost water for less than twelve hours yesterday, but it flagged up what could happen if something like this took longer than half a day to sort out. The water supply company did react ... but too slowly and without realising the scale of the problem they were dealing with.

    One would like to think that this might just be a 'wake up' call ... but I suspect that it will be ignored. In the meantime I have quite a few bottles of water to store ... just in case.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  10. Pete,

    If I look back over the past few years I see that I have gradually built up supplies of various things that I might need in different types of emergency.

    I have salt and shovels for heavy snow; two different heating systems (gas and electric) in case one or the other fails; multiple electric torches that are regularly checked and boxes of candles just in case there is no lighting; and now quite a lot of bottled water. Add to that the dried food that we always keep in our larder ... and we have enough to survive for a few days. (As this is the UK I don't have any firearms as such, but do have a couple of air guns that are well-maintained.)

    Prepared? Better than most ... but not by much!

    All the best,

    Bob

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