“When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water”: Benjamin Franklin
There are many types of water and various ways of gaining access to it. Bore, tank, town or creek.
It was only a few years ago that the then Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works (MMBW) discouraged the use of home water tanks, as if the water falling from the sky was subject to their authority!
“How bigs your tank?” It’s now common place amongst the chattering classes to brag about their tank’s capacity in the same way they do of the new deck or alfresco dining area. I’m quick to tell anybody who will listen of of my own three water tanks in my backyard.
Out here in outback Australia, water is a serious business. Whole towns survive on bore water of varying quality, extracted from deep within the artesian basin. Rolling into any town we ask “Can we drink the water?”
I wonder if there have been any long term studies of communities reliant entirely on subterranean water. I look for any outward signs in the locals; limps, twitches or tremors, as if they might have been exposed to mercury poisoning. However, all appears normal.
We never say no to water, especially if it’s sweet fresh Toowoomba rainwater offered up by a couple of friendly grey nomads. Often times we mix the creamy (slimy) bore water with an effervescent vitamin tablet to mask the taste!
A litre of water is a kilo of weight. Between us we carry 25 litres which is just enough for 3 days or 2 nights camping out between towns. After three days we tend to smell a little and our clothing needs to be washed!
The irony is that the more weight I carry the harder the ride and the more water I need! Our water filter straws allow us to drink creek water of dubious quality or water from a tank marked “Caution may be unsuitable for drinking”.
As we push deeper into the outback and cover longer distances, access to water becomes the determining factor in where we camp and what we eat. This limits our food supplies to packaged food that doesn’t require any additional water.
I suppose it’s raining back home in Melbourne and my three tanks are full!