WATER

MULTIPLE REFLECTIONS ON WATER: (LIFE-SOURCE)-(RESOURCE)-(COMMODITY).

this environmental project is a combination of academic research, photojournalism and creative writing. the text of the paper written for this project sits above each of the images. the footnotes lie below.

Edwin Chadwick “’imagined the new city as a social body through which water must incessantly circulate, leaving it again as dirty sewage…unless water constantly circulates through the city, pumped in and channelled out, the interior space imagined by Chadwick can only stagnate and rot.”7 As water was increasingly circulated in pipes and buried under the ground it was not only lost to view, but also fell from consciousness. With passage of time and the urbanization of our daily living, all water is at risk of being reduced to functional H2O.”8 Many people now have hand-held water purifiers. we have even seen one which has many different sizes and colours of stones and grit which the water slowly filters through to obtain a pure, clean drinking water (replicated from the natural world, as water filters through layers of earth and picks up necessary minerals in contrast to the product which not only takes too long for instant refreshment, but tastes odd). How often do we imagine the water that comes into our households as the same sublime and mysterious substance that falls from clouds in the sky, or spirals through trees to their leaves? we personally do not often make a firm connection between the potable water used in excess to fill our toilets as the same which runs clearly through streams and rivers. How many people could you imagine drinking out of the toilet tank, even though the quality is precisely the same that fills our glasses and pots? There is suspiciousness when we think about how the water coming out of our taps has been treated. It is quite interesting to think that the complex and costly (often to the environment as well as monetarily) systems by which water is pumped for convenient commercial or personal use is not trusted. Instantly, ‘Chlorine’ comes to mind. The lack of knowledge of what is in our water, and how pure it is, is almost as disturbing as not being able to perceive by our senses when the milk may have gone off. It is the same distanced and ironic mentality which delineates and makes clear how much distance there often is, psychologically and physically between the source of water and its use as a resource. Eventually, as is palpable, the gap in the source and use of water becomes so great that it almost becomes invisible, in a sense9.
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10 See: Thompson 1996: 166.11 http://www.breconwater.co.uk/content/public/source/water%5Fcycle/12 Brecon Carreg.
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