James Pinsky: Water: The apple of our eyes
Can your water pass the apple test?
Last week I strolled through the produce of a local grocery store. There, on quite a few occasions, I watched people, both men and women alike, young, and not so young, shuffle through, examine and often times verbally criticize apples. Some shoppers merely glanced at the in-its-own-skin grab-and-go snack; while others visually interrogated each and every apple like a father would, or should, his daughter’s prom date. Potential apple consumers found many flaws like defects in the skin, bruised pulp, dirt, uneven coloring, some with waxes, and others with no wax at all. Few apples seemed worthy.
This makes sense. People want good, clean, healthy apples that shine, burst with flavor when they bite into them, and give our tongues the flavorful dancing partners our brain and stomach yearn for. Interesting point though – we don’t need apples to live. Nope. Having apples just makes living worth it. Now water on the other hand, well that’s a must-have type of grocery item like iced tea, cherry vanilla ice cream and Zero bars.
When I see people drink water, I don’t see the same careful inspections I do when they choose apples; and, I don’t understand why because water more than any food item is the most precious and necessary sustenance we need to not just be happy and healthy, but to simply exist – at all.
A handout from the good folks just north of us at (we are!) Penn State University gives us the following information: water is pretty important to your body. It makes up over 60 percent of your total body weight, including over 75 percent of your brain. Every day, water does amazing things inside your body. Water helps to keep your body at a constant 98.6 degrees. Water carries nutrients and oxygen to your cells. Water cushions your joints as you move. Water flushes toxins out of organs and helps you eliminate wastes. Your daily body functions use water that leaves the body through sweat, exhaling, and using the bathroom, so you need to drink new water and fluids into your body every day.
While apples are tasty and certainly provide nutrition, I’d feel confident saying water is a bit more necessary in our daily lives. As such, don’t you think it deserves just as much, and maybe even more scrutiny?
The next time you grab an ice-cold glass of water ask yourself a few questions. Do you know where your water comes from? Not just which faucet in your house, or which bottle you opened in your car, but where the water itself came from? Did it come from Shenandoah County or the Potomac River? Do you think it’s shipped in from Colorado, or Canada or New York City? Does your water pass through a filter or water treatment facility or does it come straight from underneath your feet via a well in your backyard?
If you live in the Town of Woodstock, answering questions about your water quality couldn’t be easier. Right on the town’s website, www.townofwoodstockva.com, is access to what’s known as an Annual Drinking Water Quality Report, or Consumer Confidence Report. The Town of Woodstock also clearly tells its residents that the town’s water meets all state and federal requirements administered by the Virginia Department of Health, which, for the record, is far more thorough than the apple test.
Regardless of where you live within the Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District, water quality matters to us, and it should to you as well. We encourage you to find out where your drinking water comes from, if it gets treated, if so by whom, and how. If you want to know more about your water and don’t know where to start, we can help. There are a lot of local, state and federal agencies, nonprofits, businesses and plain-old good-hearted folks who have dedicated their careers and sometimes their lives to making sure every sip of water you ever take is clean, clear and healthy not just for you but for many generations to come.
*** A friendly reminder that we have our final public input session of our four-year strategic planning review on March 7. We encourage everyone to participate both in person and online by completing our survey. Here is our link to this survey: www.lfswcd.org
7 p.m. March 7 at the Strasburg Community Center, 726 E. Queen St. Strasburg
James Pinsky is the education and information coordinator for the Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District. Contact him at 540.465.2424, ext. 104, or firstname.lastname@example.org