Tag Archives: low water levels

Water is a Human Right


By Gordon Davis
The recent low water levels of Worcester’s water reservoirs brought back negative memories from the early 1960s when the east coast of the United States experienced drought-like conditions.  

The west coast of the United States has recently experienced something similar. A lot of people on the east coast are just too young to feel anxiety about low reservoirs.

Yesterday, the Worcester reservoirs were about 89 percent full. They should be 100 percent full and overflowing at this time of the year.

Snowmelt and April showers have been historically the main source of water in the spring.

The reservoirs are then drawn down by use over the summer and fall. The low levels of Worcester’s reservoirs today could mean water rationing later in the year.

I cannot say that this is due to Global Warming, but it is one of my fears.

When I was growing up in the 1950s in the streets of Philadelphia, there was abundant water. Philadelphia got most of its water from the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. Because there was plenty of water, the City turned on the fire hydrants in the summer. We kids played in the flooded streets!

As the water basins for these rivers dried up, the salt from the Atlantic Ocean moved farther upstream. If this salt line had hit the water processing plants, Philadelphia would have been out of water. There was some anger at New York City, which took more and more water from the head waters of the Delaware River. Each day then, I would buy the newspaper for my Dad, and before giving it to him I would sneak a peek at the map of the salt line.  Today, get the paper and look to see how full the reservoirs are.

Most people and organizations in the world believe that water is a human right.  

Public water supply is almost the very definition of common good.

The chair of Nestle, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, does not see water as a common good. He sees water as a commodity and a means to make a profit. He certainly puts a chill in my spine.

I suppose I should not be surprised. I have seen vendors sell water to very thirsty people on a hot day marching for justice for $4 a little bottle. I have seen municipalities prohibit the capture of rain water from a private house roof.

The City of Worcester encourages people to capture roof water and it provides, for a price, rain barrels. The rain barrels can be ordered through the City of Worcester website.

It is only rarely I drink bottled water, mostly when travelling. I think water in plastic bottles to be energy-inefficient and the plastic to be a hazard for some living things.

The City of Worcester monitors its water supply and lets us know of hazards. Unlike the City, water bottling companies take water from some unknown source and they never says much about the water quality.

My Worcester water bill came today.  I am always annoyed that it is so high. I suppose this is incentive to get that rain barrow and remodel with a more efficient water use device.

Every so often images of water shortages, Global Warming, water hoarding and wars for water give me pause.