Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Water Cycle & World Environment Day

Today is a global celebration for the planet, for raising awareness of climate change, of melting polar ice and vanishing polar bears. A day to be even more aware of the scarcity of water on this, the dryest of continents.

Brisbane's water storages are rapidly running out of water. There is only about 18 percent of water remaining for the city. The government is trying to conserve this precious resource by limiting the length of time for showers and the number of days and hours that gardens can be watered. Is this enough? It is also encouraging residents to install water tanks, grey water systems, and solar hot water. This is such a positive step but it took a potential crisis for action to be taken.

I have often thought that we need a day for honouring the Water Cycle. This week marks World Environment Day (June 5) and World Ocean Day (June 8) and both are connected through the water or hydrological cycle. Water Cycle Day would be a day set aside for revering the connectedness between salt and fresh water, between ocean and rivers, between land, sea and sky. It would pay homage to the process that brings life giving rain.

Tonight the rain is pouring down outside, one of the first bouts of rain in the few months I have lived here. The skies had been grey all day and there was a promise of rain. In fact many days have been like this. Grey clouds, a whiff of dampness, but then the sun comes out and chases the rain away. Not tonight. The ground is thirsty and slurps up the water voraciously, flowing into the drains, the creek, the river and the ocean. The ocean is the grand storehouse for the earth's water supply, holding around 96.5 percent of all the water on the planet.

Water is also flowing in the sky, evaporating and condensing, shaping and reshaping cloud formations made up of tiny water droplets. When we were children we spent hours lying on our backs looking up at the sky telling stories of the images we could see in the swirl and dance of the water vapour. Without realising we were worshipping the sacred process of the movement of water from land to sea and back again.

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