It started out as our regular walk through the park with the dogs.
The first sign of not normal was a string of yellow caution tape in front of a huge drilling rig.
Right in the middle of our neighbourhood park.
My brain quickly jumped over the rig and the white pickup trucks, through the crew,
past the white-hard-hatted supervisor-looking guy standing at the edge of the soccer
pitch, and landed on the obvious conclusion: the municipality was preparing to
pump still more water out of our beleaguered aquifer… or worse still, the money-hungry squatters in our civic government had sold the
right to sink a well in our park to some private money-grubber.
Admit it: that was a logical conclusion.
So Donna, Sam, Pippin, and I moseyed on over to the hard hat, who smiled and met us halfway, as if he was actually eager to chat with us about his plan to suck our wells dry.
In fact, he really was eager to tell us… that the well was the first part of an environment ministry project to study local water levels and monitor changes, with special attention to the nearby creek.
Another such monitoring well was to be drilled next to another creek a dozen or so kilometres down the road.
He hoped there would be more money for further expansion of the project, throughout the Fraser Valley.
He gave voice to an opinion that I have long held: that the water in the ground under our feet is not free. It is not limitless, and it’s long past time that we measure and evaluate that resource.
He noted that, under new provincial legislation, groundwater is finally being recognized as a precious resource, and made mention of the fact that industrial users must have a licence to access it.
He was careful to note that, as a domestic source, my well needn’t be licensed or metered… but I have to wonder why.
That water that we pump out of our well is deemed to be ours… but clearly, the water that flows into it is not.
It belongs to everyone, until our pump kicks in, and then we can squander it as we wish.
We treat our air the same way.
I’m allowed to breathe as much of it as I can, for as long as I am able.
Meanwhile, people driving by my house fill it with oxides of carbon and a host of poisonous compounds.
And I do the same when I drive by your house.
We need to start paying for what we do to other people’s property – for the water and air we abuse, for the excessive sound waves we hurl about – for all the costs we incur at our neighbours’ expense.