DID you know that all the water you drink has been drunk before you?
It might have been a million years ago, by a Tyrannosaurus Rex, but even so…
It would either have sweated the stuff out, or widdled it against a handy tree. The sun would have done its trick with the heat, turning the sweat and wee to vapour, and 65 million years later – bingo! Tyrannosaurus Rex excretions turn up in the Ross River Dam.
Be grateful the process takes a while. Think how much worse it would be if it took a couple of days and you ended up with some by-product created by the grizzled old reprobate down the street with the permanent stain on his trousers.
Why can’t we get a different supply? Something more… wholesome, I hear you ask.
Because there isn’t a different supply. We can’t ship it in from anywhere. I believe we have found something like it on Mars, but there’s no way we can get out hands on it.
What we’ve got is what we have.
And a quarter of what we have is sitting in an enormous lake in Russia. If the Ross River Dam were Lake Baikal our problems would be over, but it’s not. And the city rates aren’t high enough to pay for a pipeline from Lake Baikal to here.
And as the only people at Lake Baikal are a Russian peasant who drinks battery acid and his missus, who drinks vodka, that means the entire population of the world — six and half billion — is sharing the other three-quarters.
Except that it’s not.
God, in his infinite wisdom, does not issue vouchers or ration books. He closes his eyes and hurls a bucket load on, maybe, Singapore, and half a pipette of the stuff on Somalia.
And he doesn’t feel sorry the following week and do it the other way around.
Except, maybe, in Townsville.
The days of plenty are over. As the Townsville Bulletin reported yesterday, we’re running out of water.
Stuff and nonsense, I hear you say, it’s just a poor year.
I have a bad feeling that’s what the Somalian businessman was saying a few hundred years ago when he stepped out of his shower and went for a swim in the pool before hosing down his five-hectare lawn.
I’m actually better off than most. I don’t mind drinking dinosaur wee, or even the by-products of that grizzled old reprobate down the street with the permanent stain on his trousers.
That’s because I was born in London, where they recycle their water. If you are what you eat and drink, then when you look at me you are looking at a complex (and deeply schizophrenic) conglomeration of the 15 million people who live in England’s capital city.
I used to live near the sewage farm — the size of a suburb — where the recycling process was going on. When the wind was in the wrong direction the smell made battery acid a more attractive option.
But for most Australians the idea is as horrifying as eating dog’s doings – and without the benefit of a 65-million year recycling process.
So unless you want to be drinking your neighbour’s beer again a few days after he has… better use less water. Turn the tap off when you clean your teeth, shower with your partner. If you want to add a little… interest… to you life, make it your business partner and not your spouse.
And for God’s sake stop watering the lawn – in our climate the grass is as invulnerable as cockroaches, no matter what you do.
I bet they said that in Somalia once.