Walkabout: Water advisory sheds light on what we take for granted

Walkabout: Water advisory sheds light on what we take for granted.
The recent boil-water advisory that affected North Side neighborhoods, Millvale and Reserve was four days of inconvenience.
For whatever reason — probably because I was trained by a mother who always planned for “what ifs” — I had, over the years, rinsed out Clorox jugs when they became empty and filled them with water.
I drank bottled water at work and came home to these jugs that had to be dusted off, then I had to remember to lug one up to the counter if I wanted to rinse a spoon, freshen the pets’ water bowl or wash off a peach.
And then the next morning, so easy to forget and hold the coffee carafe under the water … but I remembered in time to pour it out, then rinse the coffee pot from the jug and then fill it from the jug before pouring water into the coffeemaker.
I want to have faith in the person who says, “Your water is now safe to drink.” On Aug. 28, when the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority alerted about 18,000 customers to boil water before drinking it, that was a precaution.
The reservoir was taken offline and PWSA will reroute water to the affected areas.
But there is reason to believe America may not be as resilient as we expect it to be.
Our rates of poverty, infant mortality and other benchmarks that differentiate the First World from the developing world are rising, and our infrastructure is in serious decline, from bridges and locks and dams to levees and water and sewer systems.
It really is just an inconvenience when you can’t use tap water for three or four days.

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