Taken for granted

I had a call from my mum today about a familiar problem in the area we’re from in Scotland – water – or the lack of it (er, yes, I know…Scotland and a lack of water…).

Since I was a little girl, our water supply came off the hill from a land drain. About 150 years ago, with a horse and cart some of the locals dug into the hillside and created “natural” filters for the water with sand, pebbles and reeds. Over the past 150 years that has started to break down. At the moment the land around the water supply is being intensively used for grazing both cattle and sheep and consequently, the water coming into the house is filthy.  My parents have several holding tanks on the hillside and then they have two filter systems in the house – plus a separate filter for anything they want to drink! Each filter needs to be replaced every other month. A couple of months ago, one of the hillside tanks collapsed, revealing about 30cm of iron pan and sludge at the bottom…

You probably live in a town, you turn on the tap and hey presto the water comes out: clean, clear and ready to drink? Yes? Well, imagine turning on the tap and it having fresh water shrimp in it, it’s brown (from the peat), it occasionally contains iron pan, and more often than not isn’t clear and believe me…you cannot drink it. That on top of the local water table dropping significantly has made it a real problem.

For years there has been a promise of connection to the mains water 12 miles away…and disappointment when it hasn’t happened. Now, the local MP is coming to the nearest village to talk to the locals about their issues – Mum wants to campaign for an easier solution. (Wants me to write the letters.) The easier solution (rather than laying 12 miles of pipe) is to put in a small treatment plant at the head of the glen – where the river Brerachan falls… It never runs dry. It’s always a good rate flowing down from the hills behind and has enough water to service the houses where supply is in jeopardy.

Next time you turn on the tap – just don’t take it for granted that the water will be clear, drinkable or useable. Think before you waste it. Don’t rinse your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher – let it do its job etc. etc. 🙂


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