Water Wonders and Worries

You don’t miss the water…

Through the open windows at night, we can’t hear the creek–what little is left of it–for only the second time in ten years. And when it happened the first time back in 2002, the oldest folk in the area had never seen Goose Creek dry before. There are still some pools where all the minnows rush around in a panic, trying to find shade, food, a place to hide. So I’ve been thinking about water. So ordinary. So essential.  Scarce in the best of times, really, though we act as if there will always be enough.

First some world water facts: —

97.4 % of the world’s water is ocean water. 2 % is accounted for by ice caps and glaciers, and about 0.6 % is ground water, which constitutes the entire fresh water reserves on earth. Everything else is pocket change. Lake water represents only 7 millionths of the world’s water; clouds only 1 millionth, and river water 10% of a millionth. Source

Then some water-in-a-bottle facts. This is hard to swallow:–

In Hollywood it seemed as if people flaunted their bottled water like it was part of their presentation. Whether the bottles had a cool shape or came from an exotic island, none truly made that defining statement. Bling H2O was fashioned to make that defining statement. The mission was to offer a product with an exquisite face to match exquisite taste. The product is strategically positioned to target the expanding super-luxury consumer market. Initially introduced to hand-selected athletes and actors, Bling H2O is now excitedly expanding it’s availability. Bling H2O has been featured at many recent celebrity events including the MTV Video Music Awards and television’s biggest event, The Emmys.

Bling H2O is pop-culture in a bottle. But it’s not for everyone, just those that Bling.

And finally, some southwest Virginia water facts: buddies, we’re going dry real fast.


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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Same thing on the Delmarva Peninsula, not enough rain. It ruins the beauty of the land, making everything turn brown, and lowers the underground water table. It’s scary to think about. My neighbor just had to have a new deeper well drilled. I’m holding my breath, hoping mine is deeper than his old one was.

    Then there’s all that plastic that ends up in the landfills, from the thrown away plastic water bottles, causing even another problem.

    On another subject, say a prayer for the Utah miners!

  2. It’s almost strange reading this post as the thunder and lightning crash and flash once again this year.

    One of the reasons I dream of the Blue Ridge is the more prevalent nature of moisture there when compared to the western mountains. I have spent time living on the edge of desert and I prefer moister climes even as I despair over the comfort levels of humidity.

    Hopefully, one of these tropical systems will run up against the mountains shortly and replenish the groundwater.

  3. Fred, I read about Bling and didn’t know whether to laugh or cry – the situation is just so ridiculous, couture water in arfully frosted bottles adorned with Svarovski crystals at forty bucks a pop. There is (alas) no blinging in my future. The idea of paying that much for a bottle of water offends the highlander in these old bones.

  4. Saw some bling water in my hotel the other week. Just like the mini-bar, if you drank the Fiji brand water, then you’ll be charged $4.5o. Sadly, I did not feel hip enough to drink it.