National Geographic : 1993 Nov 30
Americans have seldom had to hink about it. It comes to ou aps when called. It drains away to somewhere else. Most of us have been able to swim when we want, bathe when we choose, water our lawns, and let our children drink from fountains at school. Like good health, we ignore water when we have it. But, like health, when water is threatened, it's the only thing that matters. Fresh water is the blood of our land, the nourish ment of our forests and crops, the blue and shining beauty at the heart of our landscape. Religions bathe their children and their saved with water. Greek philosophers described water as one of the four elements that made up the earth. To the K~ogi Indians of Colombia the three things at the beginning of life are mother, night, and water. The Koyukon Indians of Alaska define cardinal directions not as north or south but as upstream or down. Where there is no water, there is no life. A healthy human being can live a _ :ingvery drop countI:_es l~s;4W. 4i .1 . Bckets in the family shower help a home recycling program in Laguna Niguel, Califor ni. Collected soapy "graywater" was used on backyard plants during the drought of 187-1993, which saw Shasta Lake (right) drop to one-third its capacity. Though rain hs replenished the reservoir, water remains a constant concern for Californians.