A small taste of life without water

On Sunday evening, and then again yesterday during the day, my water supply was interrupted. This has never happened before. Electricity, yes, that has been interrupted, I seem to recall. And once, my hot tank refused to stop heating its water, which was alarming. I had to switch off all my electricity myself, to stop my boiler boiling itself and perhaps exploding like a steam locomotive having a crash. But, no water? That was a new one for me, here.

When my taps first ran out of puff, I didn’t know what was causing this. At first, I thought the problem might be my own personal arrangements, as it had been with that over-eager heating system. But, I knocked on the door opposite and discovered that my neighbour had received an email threatening water disruption, and it all started to make sense. One of our neighbours was having work done which necessitated a block-wide water switch off. This was on Sunday evening, but the email concerned threatened disruption on Monday, disruption that duly occurred.

I wasn’t even completely sure if the water, when restored, would automatically fill up my pipes again, once it had abandoned them. You know how you can get water to to go up and down in pipes, in school physics lessons. What if interrupted water supply created a permanent unwillingness of the water to travel along my personal pipes, to my personal taps?

When the water returned later on Sunday evening, it was quite a relief to see it gushing out of my taps again, of its own accord, with no suction pump needed to coax it back into action. But then, disruption happened again, exactly as threatened, on Monday.

It’s only when you are deprived of something you are used to having that you realise how much you depend upon it. For washing, of me and of the things I eat from and off. For flushing the loo. There was an event I wanted to attend on Monday evening. No go. Unclean.

I had never had anything to do with my lady neighbour before this little water drama. Interesting that things not working properly and “community” go together like this. When the great machine we all depend on stops working, we suddenly become more dependant upon each other, if only to find out what the hell is going on and when it is likely to stop.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

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