For many years, I took my water supply for granted, mainly because it was never disconnected, it was free, and it was always clean. It did surprise me slightly that I had to pay a charge in Greece for the amount I used, because in New Zealand, we could use as much as we liked without feeling that we were using too much. What did alarm me more than anything else was the ring of chalk that boiled water left on my pots and pans, the electric jug, and metal worktop in the kitchen where the washed crockery was drying; everyone told me that it was nothing to worry about, just a natural substance called alata.
Today is Epiphany, the 'day of lights', so called because it is considered the day the Christian Orthodox celebrate the baptism of Christ, and in this way 'enlightened' the people. It is also known in Greece as the day of the blessing of the waters. On this day, young men (women have been making an appearance in this event in recent times) dive into the wintry waters of our oceans and lakes (what a blessing it is for Greeks living 'down under', where the seasons are reversed!), to retrieve the cross that the priest threw into the sea as he blessed it. The winner is often presented with a small gold cross, and is bestowed with good luck all his life.
Nowadays, our fresh water supplies are under constant threat. In the summer, we often suffer from disconnections, and the booming tourist trade has made unprecedented demands for greater supplies. Tourists need to bathe and shower constantly when on holiday, and they always prefer hotels by the sea equipped with a swimming pool (?@#*&$!).
One of the ugliest sights that my tired eyes must encounter on a daily basis is the filthy brown water of my neighbor's swimming pool, when it is unused (which is approximately 350 days each year). We live a 10-minute walk away from the sea, and these guys come and use this pool (complete with a lawn which needs watering) every time they stay at their summer house, which is about a fortnight per year...
What with the desertification process already making great inroads in the Mediterranean, pretty soon, it will be water, water, everywhere, but not a drop that's potable. And will we ever say no to bottled water? I doubt it.