“Water is the Driving Force of All Nature”. This phenomenal quote from Leonardo Da Vinci, one of the greatest men ever lived on this chaotic planet, represents no doubts what the role of the water is for all the creatures. However, we often forget too quickly about the importance and the scarcity of this resource and we act as we know that our behavior will not impact our future.
It’s not a secret that all over the United States when the weather starts being really hot, there’s this controversial habit to “uncap” the fire hydrants in the streets. This has been a very common behavior since the very beginning and it’s probably a relief for most of the people who cannot leave the city for the summer but… what’s the impact of such conduct?
“At full power, an open hydrant pumps out 1,000 gallons of water a minute” https://urbanomnibus.net/2009/07/nyc-uncapped/. 1,000 gallons of water a minute. If you think about a usual hot day in the middle of the summer, you will probably see these fire hydrants running at full power for at least four or five hours. In the best scenario, this would result in 240,000 gallons of water that, for those who are not from the US, would mean 908,499 liters. Four hours, a single fire hydrant, almost 910,000 liters of water. Let’s try to analyze the situation from a national perspective.
According to Verisk, the US count approximately 7.5 million fire hydrants. We must also say, in order to be extremely neutral about it, that sometimes the US cities allow this behavior to keep the water clean. However, most of the times this is not the reason why they do that. Let’s try to imagine what the situation could be during a very hot summer day. Let’s say that there is “only” a third of these fire hydrants full running for four hours. What’s the result that comes out of it?
The outcome is shocking: if we kept 2.5 million fire hydrants running at full power for four hours, we would waste 10 billion gallons of water, that are almost 38 billion liters of water. In some parts of Africa, most of the people have to survive with no more than 20 liters of water a day (which is what it takes to us to take a 1.5-minute shower) for all their needs.
Therefore, 10 billions gallons of water would be vital to surviving to no less than a billion and nine hundred million people living in some of those African countries we mentioned above. Let’s imagine that this routine goes on for an entire month, between July and August, and we would sadly assert that the number rises up to 15 billion people. That would sound unreal but unfortunately, anything of what said before is fake, and this is only what would happen in the best case.
It’s not a matter of moralism. It’s not a matter of stopping our daily habits. It’s not a matter of avoiding everything that implies water consumption. It’s a matter of being human. It’s a matter of caring about the next generations and safeguarding the world that we live in. It’s a matter of common sense. It’s a matter of understanding that we have to act now for a better tomorrow or we are not going to have any tomorrow. It’s time to change for real, not just in words.