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Ed Said - Adams Ale, Praised and Cursed



dadWhat a Godsend for Mangawhai was the big rain at New Year which was greeted with nothing but joy from holidaymakers and local homeowners thrilled to have their tanks filled. The downside is that some areas were deluged and ended in dire straits through flash flooding. They then look for someone to blame because stormwater outlets can’t cope. It must be awful to be in a situation surrounded by water which, for whatever reason, cannot be used when it is considered a basic necessity and easily accessable.

I’m reminded of Samuel Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner, of the sailor stranded at sea and wracked by a storm: Water, water, everywhere, and all the boards did shrink; Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink.

Water has become a highly emotive subject through discussions on pollution. All sectors are blamed – farming, industry, mining, forestry, Councils, world leaders, environmentalists, and the medical sector. Does not the average householder have a big responsibility here too?

In Mangawhai the demand is relatively simple. Mangawhai relies on tank water. This comes either from rainfall or it has been sucked out of a creek somewhere. One presumes the sources are regularly tested for greeblies but who would know.

I find some of the discussions on the state of water a little nauseating to be honest. Sure, we can all be careful as to how we use and treat our waterways but I grew up in a time when, being the son of a farmer, cowshed and waste skim milk effluent was flushed into drains. You have never seen such big and healthy eels than in those drains. They are not there today because they have been fished out, not because of the state of the waterways.

Water tests used today were simply not around in the 1950s. Certainly the word ‘giardia’ wasn’t even invented then. We swam in drains, in cow troughs and in creeks. In winter we ate ice from cow troughs. If creek water looked still and greasy we didn’t swim there. Stagnant water is nothing new. We simply swam in a part which was running and clear – no problem.

Where else would one swim these days? Well, at the beach – where effluent from a million people is minced up to a slurry and pumped into these pristine coastal bays? People put their heads under water, open their eyes underwater and leave every orifice in their bodies open to all sorts of bugs. Ditto a public swimming pool where a thousand people swim and a thousand people urinate and sometimes defacate – it’s filtered but it’s the same water.

I reckon if you want clean water, go home and turn on the tap. ‘Wouldn’t drink that’ said a friend, ‘the Council put chemicals in it.’ Yet he’s happy to bath and shower in it again getting it in his nose and eyes and every other orifice without any concern about quality.

So then we have rainwater that washes dust, leaves and bird droppings into our tanks. If you’re a real conspiracy theorist you’ll avoid rainwater like the plague due to the acid it collects from the atmosphere on the way down. Is any of it really ‘clean’? It all gets too much doesn’t it?

However, the sun is out again in Mangawhai and the 28 degree heat is getting all the bunnies back on the beach and into the sea followed by long showers to rejuvenate, shampoo and condition summer hair on a daily basis. Water usage will go up 100-fold and in no time water carriers will be unable again to cope with demand – and the debate will go on.

Just my thoughts


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