Great Water Crisis

By Travis Hunter
On September 20, 2018

“The boil notice has been lifted!” screamed headlines and cell phone alerts as the people of San Angelo rejoiced and took to the streets in celebration. We did it. We survived the Great Water Crisis of 2018. They’ll sing songs about the hardships we endured. They’ll print T-shirts, and everyone will remember where they were when they heard the news.

That’s probably how this column would have begun if we had experienced anything above a minor inconvenience. I mean, what actually changed? When it came to my routines, I woke up a little bit earlier to boil water for my morning cup of coffee, I didn’t sing in the shower, and I used more hand sanitizer than ever before in my life. That’s about it.

Not exactly a crisis by any means, but you wouldn’t guess that from the posts I saw on social media, the conversations I had with other people, or the swarming and raiding of the bottled water aisle at the grocery store. Panic gripped the town.

In situations like these, I think it’s important to have some perspective. According to Water.org, one in nine people do not have access to safe drinking water. That’s nearly 800 million people all over the world, including in the United States. These people don’t have an end date for their problem, nor do they know if anyone is working to help them. Their worries extend far beyond whether they’ll be able to swing by Starbucks in the morning or not.

What we went through for a couple of days would truly be a step up for so many. We knew the situation would be resolved sooner or later, but others aren’t as fortunate. The people of Flint, Michigan, the people of Puerto Rico, the people in Sub-Saharan Africa experience suffering that deserves proper, constant attention and prompt rectification. It’s honestly all I thought about last week, watching the bubbles rise and burst as I brought a pot of water to a steady, rolling boil.

I’m one of the lucky ones.

 

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