For the past several days, we had a water ban in certain parts of Massachusetts. Apparently, a HUGE water pipe, which fed millions and millions of gallons of water into quite a number of cities and towns, corroded completely. The water, which was supposed to siphon off into all of the MWRA communities, poured into the Charles River instead (at the rate of a MILLION gallons per hour), and left all of us who live in those communities with contaminated water for two days. It was safe for showering (unless you had open sores), and flushing... but no drinking AT ALL.
A water boil order was immediately put into effect, which meant that any water used from the tap needed to be brought to a running boil for at least five minutes before it could be consumed. We had all four burners going constantly, filling up every available pot we had with water, and (once cooled) pouring it into clean containers for use.
The hubs also went on a mad search for bottled water. He came up empty at two different stores, before finally finding some cases available at Market Basket, where he got caught up in the process of forking over cases of Poland Spring gallons to those waiting for the pallets to be brought out from the stockroom. He finally broke free from the mass confusion, and brought home two cases of the precious liquid for our own consumption.
We lived like pioneers for the past several days, using the purchased water for cooking and drinking, and reserving the boiled water for washing our bodies, our home, and our dishes. I felt like Laura Ingalls Wilder last night, as I filled up the bathroom basin with some previously boiled tap water, adding some recently boiled water to it to warm it up, before using it to get washed up for bed last night. I was expecting Pa to come bursting through the door at any minute, telling us the crops were ready for pickin', and we should all get our bonnets on and get a good night's sleep, 'cause it would be a busy day in the fields tomorrow!
Thankfully, we were brought back to the 21st century pretty quickly. The corroded pipe was fixed, the water supply was diverted to the "reserves" held in other locations, and the water ban was lifted this morning. Who would have thought that washing one's hands under the tap would bring such joy?
I'll tell you one thing... I won't be cooking pasta, making tea or instant coffee, or a serving of Cup-of-Noodles anytime soon! I'd be quite happy NOT to boil another pot of water for a long, LONG time! :)