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It’s Blog Action Day and the topic is “water.”

I grew up with a love/hate relationship with the stuff. Loved playing with it. Hated the enforced swimming lesson that entailed jumping off the Port Adelaide wharf into the canal on the end of a rope. Swallowed lots of water and never went back. Never learnt to swim  after such a dis-motivational experience. Yet I find holidays by the water very restful – whether its pounding waves against a rocky cliff-face or a still mill-pond.

I guess this  reflects the ambivalence we have in this land that thirsts for decent rainfalls – most of the time there’s not enough. Suddenly there’s too much. Like Hanrahan, there’s the prevailing mood that “we’ll all be rooned.” As a son of South Australia, once nominated as “the driest state in the driest country”, I suppose I should be somewhat more passionate about water. After all, the Murray flows now following superlatively high rainfalls, but the water fights upstream look set to continue for a while. My hometown of Adelaide will always be at the behest of access to water “allowed” to flow from the the east.

Yet my thoughts turn to other places on the planet where the need for water is not so easily met. It’s always been close at hand for me. Just turn on the nearest tap which is never far way. Thousands of communities have no access at all to potable water, let alone the convenience of a tap. For some years now my Google home page has been set to http://www.wateraid.org/australia/ – a running background reminder to just how critical water is for maintaining healthy sustainable communities. This is just one of many aid organisations aimed at improving provision of this most basic of commodities.

I hope this Blog Action Day project will heighten awareness and stimulate international and political will for imaginative solutions to water access problems.

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