There are few people that don’t enjoy having days on end of sunshine, of being able to walk outside with the sun shining and no fear of rain in the near future. Well, this is what it is like almost every day in Valencia, Spain. In the two months I have spent here I have seen rain just four times, and when I say rain it is really just a light drizzle.
Although this is a dream for me, it is putting Valencia in a very bad place. One headline that I read stated that the city is in the worst drought in Southern and Eastern Spain in 150 years. Although the drought has affected multiple areas in Spain, Alicante and Valencia are being affected the most. For years Valencia has had a water shortage. It has come to the point where one of its rivers has completely dried up. However, it is not all bad news. The river was turned into a gorgeous park where you can go for a run, ride your bike, or just lay out on the grass.
Since being here, I have had a new respect for water usage. At home it is not something that is ever really on my mind. I take showers without worrying whether I’ve been in for too long and I wash my dishes without thinking about whether I should turn off the water between every dish. However, here it is something I think about almost constantly. I live with a host family and from them I have learned that the price for water is extremely high because of the shortage. When I first arrived I would wash my dishes and leave the water running as I tried to scrub anyway the leftover food. Almost immediately my host mom would come over and turn off the water. It was never something I had to think about at home so it shocked me when coming to Valencia.
Over the past two months I have learned to try to conserve water to the best of my ability. Now, whenever I take a shower I am constantly thinking, “am I taking too long to shower? Am I using too much water?” I turn off the water as soon as I can whenever I am washing the dishes, and try not to let the water run too long when I brush my teeth or wash my face.
Valencia has given me a new appreciation for my water use and has me thinking more about how my actions at home affect the environment around me.
The world awaits…..discover it!