Ain’t Got No Rainbarrel

When I was a child, I spent a lot of time in Storm Lake, Iowa with my grandparents Floyd and Alice Klinzman. They lived in a grand old house, with loads of oak woodwork, two big porches, and a white picket porch swing.

In the spring, the sticky purple scent of my grandfather’s iris blanketed the backyard, which was also host to a full-to-the-brim wooden rain barrel for splashing in and a cellar door worn so smooth it could be used as a slide. As I played in the yard among the grapefruit-sized heads of Grandpa’s iris, I often sang this song.

I’m sorry playmate, I cannot play with you

My dollys got the flu, boo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoohoo

Ain’t got no rain barrel, ain’t got no cellar door

But we’ll be jolly friends forevermore.

For some reason, it delighted me to sing this song because I did indeed, HAVE a rain barrel and a cellar door. But it did not please me more than the rain barrel I now possess.

Felipe made our rainwater collection system by sawing a pvc pipe in half horizontally, which he wired to the roof and downspouted into a 55-gallon barrel. When the rains come I ask expectantly after the first big downpour, “Do you think it’s clean enough yet.”

He generally makes me wait for 3 big rains, and then…

The morning of the fourth deluge, we go outside and plunge our mouths into the velvety cool waters of heaven. There is no water more satisfying.

For the next several months I strain our drinking water from the rain barrel into the garafones(plastic five-gallon water jugs)we have kept from the dry season when we must buy chlorinated, bottled water for drinking.

It is a well-established belief that it is unwise to drink the water in Mexico, and we don’t drink from our well because we haven’t had it tested. Due to the excessive use of pesticides and herbicides, it’s unlikely it is safe.

Mexico is the world’s largest consumer of bottled water per capita for several reasons; nonexistent, or deteriorated filtration systems, a lack of faith in the viability of government protections, or in some areas no access to piped( i.e. possibly safe) water.

If you are one of the fortunate people in the world that have potable water running from a tap that has not been privatized, you are one of the dismissing portions of humanity that is still enjoying the free water of the global commons.

“The global fresh water supply is a shared legacy, a public trust, a fundamental human right, and therefore a collective responsibility” *

Because this luxury is easily overlooked, it is possible that you are not aware that the threat of global thirst is very real, and that multinational corporations are actively pursuing control of the world’s water for their own profit.

“Global consumption of water is doubling every 20 years, more than twice the rate of human population growth. According to the united nations, more than one billion people already lack access to fresh drinking water. If the trend persists, by 2025 the demand for fresh water is expected to rise by 56 percent more than the amount of water that is currently available.

Multinational corporations recognize these trends and are trying to monopolize water supplies around the world. Monsanto, Betchtel, and other global multinationals are seeking control of world water systems and supplies.”  *

What can you do to help maintain water as a fundamental human right, and protect it from becoming the world’s most valuable commodity?

  1.  Find out where your water comes from if you don’t know, and who you are paying for your service.
  2.  Follow your local government in regard to how the water in your community is managed.
  3.  Pay attention to your representative’s stance on water privatization and vote to keep the global commons free.
  4.  Drink from your tap; buy a filter or a Brita system if necessary.
  5.  Fill a bottle to take with you. An added bonus, you’re producing less garbage.
  6.  Do not buy water other than to pay for your water service if it can be healthfully avoided.

These are some links to find out more about the future of water and the global commons.

Protecting the global water commons is worth your time, interest, and concern. Your grandchildren will thank you for it.

I couldn’t resist this because of the song; she also writes a lovely (not overly) sentimental blog.

2 thoughts on “Ain’t Got No Rainbarrel

  1. Great post! Bottle water is the norm in most houses in Thailand, but in the rural area rain water is the source we use. I also found that many Thais buy 5 gallon containers of drinking water which come right out of the tap, but because it comes from a bottle– it must be good.

    • Glad you enjoyed it. In Mexico, everyone drinks bottled water, except me(rain water). In the dray season, also about six months I drink the bottled water too, but it taste bad, We buy in five gallon jugs, plastic and cloro 😛 we have a well, and a cistern, he well has never gone dry, thankfully, but cistern only last about a month. I’m enjoying our exchange 🙂

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