When the beautiful sound of running water is no more

When the beautiful sound of running water is no more

So what if the headlines of expert studies, newspapers and websites shout out, “We are running out of water”? So what if rainfall has decreased by half? The increase in consumption – and especially in the overburdened summer months when tourism is at its peak – continues to drain our reservoirs. The problem is not restricted to Greece either. Europe as a whole is experiencing the worst drought it has seen in the past five centuries, and 17% of the European Union is already in a state of emergency. The United Nations, for its part, estimates that by 2025, 1.8 billion people will live in areas with water scarcity. 

But let’s not stray too far away; let’s look around us, at our own homes and neighborhoods – at the spacious central Athens balcony where a lady waters her plants and the floor with abandon, leaving the water on even when she’s not using it; the gardener on the island who knows nothing about shortages, whose only concern is the price of the still-cheap cubic meter; and the car owner copiously spraying the dust off his vehicle; at the streams of water bubbling from our sidewalks and flooding streets because of faults in antiquated pipes… The water company has said that it is planning a campaign to encourage households to use water more wisely. As it should. But the real question is: As citizens, how prepared are we, really, to do what’s asked of us? To change our daily habits, how we wash our hands, ourselves and our dishes, how we clean our houses? Can we really fathom the fact that we are running out of water?

Cyprus, which has a chronic drought problem, has developed all sorts of strategies to deal with the issue, such as using recycled wastewater for farming or containing rainwater.

On a planet where drinkable water is dwindling and impotable water becomes the only option, we are doomed to fail unless we come up with a plan, unless we take action immediately and unless we use the technology that’s available. If we don’t do these things, the only way we’ll hear the sound of water running lustily out of a tap again is if we make it a ringtone. 

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