October 15, 2012 by bdetienne
My wife and I were returning home last week from a late dinner with friends when we came across flashing lights near our house. They weren’t police lights, but rather orange ones from a utility truck. As we drew nearer to the truck we noticed that the entire street was wet. This was a little curious as it had not rained at all during the day. When we went around the truck it’s headlights illuminated the storm drain in front of our house that was gushing water out onto the street. Uh-oh. I have seen this happen during heavy downpours when the drains cannot keep up with the rainwater flowing through their system but like I said, no rain had been received.
We pulled into our driveway and watched for the next few minutes as a lone utility man attempted to remedy the situation. When he pulled out a long rod with handles on the end, stuck it in the street, and began turning it like a wheel, I knew our supply of water was about to be extinguished at the house. I ran inside and took a quick shower with quickly decreasing pressure, praying that I would have enough to finish. I had enough. Barely. After drying off i turned on the sink to brush my teeth but no water came out. Just like that, we were out of water.
It turns out that the water main in front of our house was breached from a freeze the night before. Going from high 20’s to mid to high 60’s in a few hours is not the best for water pipes, especially ones like ours that were installed when Dwight Eisenhower was president. We were not alone as several breaches were reported throughout the city. I give credit to the city for quickly repairing it- we were without water for only a little over 12 hours- but still, it reminded me how thankful I should be for running water in my house. Without water, I couldn’t do basic morning activities like flushing the toilet; wash my hands; brush my teeth, wet my hair; make coffee; refill the dog’s water bowl; rinse my cereal bowl; or have a drink of water to start the day. Thankfully I could get ready and make coffee at work and the dogs had enough water to get through the other day; otherwise, I would have had to “carry my jug” to the “well” that is the local grocery store (thankfully having the motorized vehicle to get me there quickly and not having to walk) to buy water.
You don’t really think about things like your home’s water supply until it’s gone. But when it has been taken from you, you are reminded just how fortunate you are to have it at the turn of a tap.