“You can’t eat the scenery,” said Des our bus driver. Ireland is surrounded by water, whether it be the ocean or a lake. Even with all the bodies of water, it is not clean drinking water. Clean fresh water is an essential part of life. Surprisingly, Ireland concentrated on the water conservation. The conservation affects everyone, including myself, from taking a shower to drinking the water. Eco-village tried their best to conserve the water as much as possible. When showering at the hostel the shower had a press button which allowed ten seconds of water to pour out. I was not of fan of this. While trying to shampoo my hair, I would constantly be pressing the button for water. I did not want shampoo in my eyes. The Eco-village, also, installed a sustainable drainage system. This system is meant to keep water within the pipes for as long as possible. As the rainwater runs off the roofs of the buildings in the Eco-village it is collected and used within the community.
The water conservation does not stop at the Eco-village. As we traveled through other rural areas of Ireland, I saw a shortage of water. The smallest island off of the mainland, Inis Oirr, has one of the worst shortages in the country. Currently, they are getting clean usable water imported twice a day from the mainland. As of right now there are no restrictions in place, but these restrictions are no stranger to the community. Just last year the shortage was so awful that they placed a water usage restriction. People were only to use water from around 8:30am to 8:30pm. In these villages we have to be mindful has to how much we consume. In the Aran hostels they all have signs asking users to conserve water if possible. One hostel had signs in the bathroom, “Think- save water” Another hostel asked to only flush the toilets when absolutely needed to preserve the water.
With the conservation of water present everywhere, it makes me realize how precious clean water truly is. At home I have the luxury to never worry about my water running out. Here, this issue is present. Every single raindrop here counts for them. As a tourist we pray for clear nice weather, while the people here pray for rain, especially here on the islands. The Aran Islands experience different rain patterns than the mainland. Most days are “soft,” meaning a drizzle. The question is how does this issue get fixed? The current water conservation that is in place is certainly working but will not sustain them for long. So what is next?