Taking the piss

NEWS ITEM : While we face a further period of extended drought, Australian households consumed only 9% of the 24,909 gigalitres of water consumed in 2000-01. The agriculture industry, on the other hand, swallowed 60% of this total .
My wee-wee ends up in the Pacific Ocean. That’s not something I’m proud of but it is a fact that for most of my life my urine has often merged with that venerable body of water. Anytime I ‘go’ I’m sure that’s where it ‘goes’ to. As a sewered coastal resident on the Eastern seaboard of Australia, I’m a Pacific pisser.

If my habit was to urinate on the other side of the Great Dividing Range, the residents of Adelaide would be soon enough drinking it. They may not realize but I have had nothing whatsoever to do with its saltiness. My urine – after leaving my own sophisticated internal plumbing system -- inexorably flows east.

But like so many of my fellow citizens I’m being admonished for not being water wise. I don’t hose the garden or drench the paths. I cut down my time in the shower to a quick rinse. I use my shaving water to soak my teeth overnight. I half flush my commode whenever propriety allows…but these lifestyle measures aren’t enough. Australia is running dry and I, the ubiquitous Australian householder, is thought to be the main cause of it.

Do I feel guilty? You bet I do. This wide brown land is dehydrating and I’m the main culprit.

Let’s not talk about extraneous issues like the Kyoto Protocol or get caught up in the climate change scenarios driven by flatulent industries. The obvious problem is that I am not doing enough. The trouble is waste. If water is a commodity that is “grossly underpriced” maybe I’d treat it with more respect if I paid top dollar for it ? My habit is to normally partake of my fluids in value added forms such as beer, tea or soft drink. But have I been taking these tipples for granted and paying too little? Should my shower include a parking meter? Do I grant water the respect it deserves?

Obviously not . No wonder I feel so guilty.

It is at moments like these that some lateral thinking needs to kick in, and here at Life of Riley enterprises we’ve come up with a clincher of a solution: Taking the Piss. All my life I’ve been complicit with criminal waste. All my life the water I have taken for granted and stolen from this dry brown land has been pissed away. That’s’ right! Literally, pissed away! No sooner have I drunk my surfeit of H2O than it’s leaking out. Why let good urine go to waste topping up the Pacific? A big ocean like that doesn’t need a refill. I looked –and there’s heaps of water there and it’s already salty enough. It’s here where the need is – on terra firma Australis incognita. And each and every one who lives here is squandering their urine. So let’s all get real and start Taking the Piss ?

Adelaide takes the piss, why not the rest of us?

[Coming soon: Mixed Drinks for a Small Planet:The Consummate Guide to Drinking & Mixing Drain-It-Yourself Urine by Warren T. Shultz ]