Driving County Roads

An on line journal sharing my views. The content reflects my background as a rural person employed in agriculture and as a retired elected official of local government.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

GROUND WATER AWARENESS WEEK

March 11-17 is the week set aside to encourage folks to think about our ground water.

Turn on the tap, get a drink. Push the handle down and the toilet flushes. Put your money in, line the car up and drive into the car wash, the water sprays and the car comes out shiny clean. We don’t think about water very much, we just use it and use it and use it. If we keep on using it like there is no tomorrow – there may be no tomorrow with adequate water.
When I am not in my role as county commissioner, I am working on a history project for our community. The Norseland Community is celebrating its 150th Anniversary next year. Presently we are gathering historic information to include in a book to be published for the event. One of the reasons our ancestors settled here was because of the adequate water supply. They were farmers and they lived off the land and their livelihood depended on adequate rainfall, water from lakes and streams, and eventually, they dug wells. Carl Borgeson was a member of our community who did well drilling and repair. I imagine he had counterparts in every growing community in the state. Once settlers established their homes and outbuildings, a well was one of the necessities.

The importance of water was impressed on me at an early age. We had no running water at our country school. Part of being a student in those days was taking our turn to walk to the nearest farm place and fill up a shotgun pail with water and bring it back to school and pour it in the crock water cooler. As an adult, I had another experience during the 1975 Super Bowl blizzard which brought home the importance of water. This blizzard was an historic event and was called the “Blizzard of the Century”. Our family knew enough to draw off water for our personal use before the blizzard hit. Drinking water was no problem. The problem was getting adequate water to the livestock. Spend a few hours outside on a January day, dipping water from a cistern with a bucket tied to the end of a rope. Then deposit each bucket full of water into a cream can and keep doing this until you have filled the can 30 times. This was the amount of water needed just to “get by” for the livestock for one day. The importance of water becomes very real. And the importance of electricity to pump the water becomes real.

The idea of protecting our water supply cannot be stated in strong enough terms. Wells are substantial investments and they need to be protected. The Ground Water Awareness Week is a way to develop a sense of stewardship in citizens regarding all waters and particularly the water we drink everyday. If you have a well, check it out to see if it is in good working order. Have the water tested for coliform bacteria and nitrates and anything else that is of local concern. Keep hazardous chemicals such as paint, fertilizer, pesticides and motor oil far away from the well. Maintain a separation between your well and buildings, waste systems, or chemical storage areas. The next time you are in the shower, take a few minutes to think about how wonderful it is to have good water to wash away the germs of everyday living and the clouds of sorrow and despair that sometimes fill our minds. The water refreshes us in many ways. For this we are thankful. end

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