a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Water, Water Everywhere, But--

Friday, October 15, 2010

Water, Water Everywhere, But--

SUMMARY: Blog Action Day 2010: Water.
"Blog Action Day is an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking a global discussion and driving collective action. This year's topic is water." (Read more about Why Water here.)

I signed up Taj MuttHall to post about the topic because it's on our minds almost constantly here in California, and possibly in most of the rest of the world. For example, fights among those who want water from the Sacramento River are never-ending: The salmon and other wildlife that depend on the flow of fresh water, the fishing industry that depends on the salmon runs, the central valley farmers, the people in the cities of the San Francisco Bay Area, and--yes--Los Angeles, which pumps huge quantities of our northern California water hundreds of miles south.

And there is simply not enough to go around. Fish are dying. Orchards are dying. The alkalinity of our water goes way up in the summer--salty water in the Sact'o delta intermingles with the fresh flowing water.

But of course we're nowhere near as badly off as many hundreds of millions of people in other parts of the world, who are sometimes lucky to get water at all, let alone clean water, let alone water for their livestock, or subsistence crops.

It's a huge topic; so much to talk about. But I'm just going to nip off a little slice and point out how some Californian agility clubs are trying to help with one of the problems:

"The US, Mexico and China lead the world in bottled water consumption, with people in the US drinking an average of 200 bottles of water per person each year. Over 17 million barrels of oil are needed to manufacture those water bottles, 86 percent of which will never be recycled. " (Read more.)

We actually have some of the safest, cleanest drinking water in the world coming out of our taps, but people don't trust it, or don't like the taste, or whatever--so they buy--yes!--tap water from someone else's tap, bottled into "disposable" plastic bottles. I'm as guilty as anyone else; I like the convenience.

For the first few years that I did agility, I saved all my water bottles, rinsed or washed them after every use, and refilled with clean tap water. Then I got busy (or busier), and the time spent washing and refilling got to be too much for me, so I went back to buying bottled water.

I do try to always recycle my bottles--but the news has reported that the city recycling service can't always find buyers for the plastic and it might sometimes end up in the landfill anyway. Depressing.

I have half a dozen refillable water bottles now--sturdy ones, meant to be reused. I still don't always like to carry them: They're bulkier than teh disposable ones, and heavier, and I have to always take them home with me, not simply drop into a convenient trash can or recycling bin. But I'm trying to be better about it. I've bought a lot less bottled water this year than in recent years.

Our SMART agility club last year gave out reusable water bottles with their logo as check-in goodies at their trials. Great idea, and I still see some of them around at trials. I still have, and use, mine.

The other thing that most clubs are now doing is making huge jugs of water available for people to refill their bottles from. Sometimes in place of coolers full of disposable bottles; sometimes in addition to them.

It's not a perfect solution: Someone has to keep those jugs refilled all weekend, and it's not likely to be cold water for the difficulty of getting and using ice all weekend. But it's a start. And it's getting people thinking.


  1. I'm one of those who really doesn't like the taste of the tap water in my town. It also worries me that, when poured into a pot an boiled, a scum or foam develops on the surface of the water. Eeew! So, while it's not 3rd-World water, it's not the water that I grew up with coming out of my taps.

    So, for years I went to "the water store" to fill my 3-gallon jugs with reverse-osmosis filtered water. Mom also got on the "water store" bandwagon and her husband mocked her. Till she made coffee with the bottled stuff. Then he was sold. It made WAY better coffee... till the local "water store" went out of business and we had a hard time finding another.

    In the meanwhile, I bought a Britta filter pitcher. The filtered water is not as good as the "water store" water, but it's a lot better than tap.

    Every once in a while I find it necessary to buy a bottle of water (e.g., if you just want water with your Togo's sandwich, you have to buy a bottle of water). But I'm one of those who reuses those bottles nearly infinitely.

    I, too, have those sports water bottles with the drink-spout-top thing, but I found I was only using them for hiking cuz they don't fit the cup holder in the car, the place where I really use the water bottles. I have yet to find an intended-to-be-reused water bottle that both fits the cup holder hole AND holds a reasonable amount of water. What's up with that?

  2. Water rights are extremely contentious in Colorado too.

    I looked over the report for our tap water and it doesn't seem so bad but I don't like the chlorine taste so we use a Britta filter and it's fine. We have a natural spring just outside town and it's one of the companies that sells bottled water. You can fill up your own water bottles for a mere 25 cents a gallon. Only problem is that it's the opposite end of town from me and managing those huge jugs of water that sit atop a water cooler is hard for me and my bad back. Plus there was often a huge line, not so much fun in the dead of winter and hard to find places to store those big bottles in my tiny house.

    For agility trial I reuse gallon water jugs from bottled water that I buy ever so rarely when I'm in a pinch.

    Regular old sports water bottles fit in the cup holders of my cars, I take those to trials too as well as practice. I get them for free all the time at races and such. Most clubs have those big jugs of water and will sometimes supply cups but they're moving away from supplying bottled water.

  3. I didn't mention that I also use a filter on my sink faucet for when I want drinking water. It does improve the taste some.

    I think that water rights are pretty contentious almost anywhere. I always think of the "old west" and the cattlemen vs the farmers sort of thing, so it's been going on for a while, just now with lawyers, not Winchesters.

  4. And, Steph, I have reusable bottles that fit in the cup holders.