When the Water Stops: Lessons Learnt from a Water Supply Disruption and my Labour Day Dedication

I was lying in my bed playing with my phone when I heard my dad’s knees creaking their way out of bed and to the bathroom. There was a thunk.

Then there was silence.

A silence normally filled with the hiss of gushing water.

But today, there was nothing.

Another thunk, then footsteps drawing nearer. “What have you done?” asks my dad to the Water Wally soft toy lying next to me. “There’s no water.” Soon the corridor outside is filled with the hubbub of voices raised in consternation as the neighbours wake up to the fact that they can’t wash their faces, brush their teeth, and make their morning cuppa. Three of the most mundane things in the world…

Cannot be achieved when the water supply goes out.

Now stop for a moment and think. When was the last time you noticed the water flowing out of the tap. Like really looked at it, revelled in it. I know my answer is clear. I don’t appreciate the water when everything is working fine. Yes, me, the self-professed hydro-phile. The thing is, like the song “Big Yellow Taxi” says, we don’t know what we’ve got till it’s gone. It’s only when there’s a disruption that we realize how lucky we normally are, to have a stable supply of clean water delivered right to our homes when others have to walk miles with buckets on their heads. Then the water comes on again and we tend to quickly forget. But this shouldn’t be the case.

When you do your morning routine, remember all the work that’s constantly being done to bring that stream of clean water into your home. Lots of people work hard day and night to ensure that the rest of us wake up and go to work refreshed and hygienic. From the water technologist in the treatment plants to the mechanical engineer in the pumping station, hundreds of people labour night and day to give us this essential resource. Remind yourselves and your family members about these people, and never take water for granted again.

And when things go wrong, don’t blame them either. Instead, appreciate the fact that they are efficient in getting the problem rectified; the water supply was restored within two hours.

Happy Labour Day to all employees of the PUB. Have a good one. You deserve it!

By Jonathan Tiong
A new and enthusiastic convert to the water cause. Like his weekly Instagram series about water by searching #WednesdaysWithWaterWally.

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