Water is Important

     Last night Maxine and I had a phone call from a friend who is preparing a scholarly paper1 on the cross-cultural2 importance of water.  Soon after that, we heard a report on the evening news3 of the loss of water4 to a small community in central Iowa.  These two incidents5 again reminded me of the critical nature6 of water to humans and the rest of nature. Water has been and will continue to be important to human societies. I remember first becoming aware that early human civilizations7 depended upon a reliable water source8, even when they were still part of a mobile, hunting society9. The animals they hunted also depended on a supply of water. I also remember learning in one of my college courses about the impact10 which water, both as rivers and as ports11, has made on modern man and his society12. 

     We compose songs, write poetry and have emotional ties to water13 whether it is about the Rhine River in Germany, or West Lake in Hangzhou, China, or the Mississippi River in the U.S.  We recognize the importance of transportation on waterways, the importance of water to make our cities livable and our crops bountiful14. We use water to create electrical power.  We even use water in religious rites15, have often worshiped16 it as a key element of life17, and we are concerned when our supplies of water fail or become polluted18.

     The news report last night about the failure of water for a small community in Iowa told of the complete failure of a water system for that community lasting more than a day and a half.  After hunting many hours for the cause of the failure, city officials discovered that the single water main19 leading to the town had broken, and it was estimated20 that they lost at least a million gallons21 of water before finding the break22.  The break in the water supply occurred near a stream so it was not easily seen.  Meanwhile23, I can imagine the concern of families who had no water available for drinking, cooking, or washing.

     It seems to me that we often assume that there will be an unending supply24 of potable25 water for our cities, transportation, electrical generators26, and agricultural uses.  It now is apparent that this may not be true, and it is certainly time for all humans to recognize how deeply27 we must care about and depend on this natural resource28.  What could be the impact of melting of our ice fields at the polar areas29, and what would be the effect of a rise in ocean water levels30 on the cities near coastal areas?

     Yes, water is certainly important to us, and we must manage it wisely, now and in the future.


1. scholarly paper: a professional level publication which has been published in a journal with critical editing (学术论文).
2. cross-cultural: extending between and across different cultures or societies (跨文化的).
3. evening news: the national, regional or state news which has occurred during that particular day and which is first reported to the public readers or listeners (晚间新闻).
4. loss of water: a condition in which all water needed for a community or person is not available due to some unexpected cause (断水).
5. incidents: things which occur or happen to a person or society (事件,事故).
6. critical nature: very important feature or situation which is threatening to someone’s safety or well being (至关重要的特点/作用).
7. civilizations: times in history in which well organized groups of humans existed  (文明社会).
8. reliable water source:可靠的水资源
9. mobile, hunting society: 游牧群体
10. impact: a forceful contact, or a significant effect on something or someone (作用,影响).
11. ports: places on rivers or oceans where cargo can be loaded or unloaded from ships (码头).
12. the impact which water, both as rivers and as ports, has made on modern man and his society: 水,无论作为河流还是码头,对现代人类及其社会所产生的影响。此处the impact 是后面has made的宾语,which 起到society是impact的定语从句。
13. have emotional ties to water: (我们)跟水有了不少情感上的联系。
14. bountiful: generous in giving or making things available to others (慷慨的,大方的).
15. religious rites: religious practices which are repeated often (宗教仪式、典礼).
16. worshiped:敬奉
17. key element of life: an important part of life (生活的关键因素).
18. polluted: tainted or impure as a result of something impure being added (污染了).
19. water main: the primary pipe or conduit which supplies the water to an areas (自来水总管道).
20. estimated: rough guess of a measurement, distance, weight etc. (据估计)
21. gallons: amount of a liquid equal to 4 quarts or 8 pints (加仑).
22. the break: the broken part; as in a water line, a support element of a structure, etc. (破裂处).
23. Meanwhile: at the same time (同时).
24. unending supply: a supply without limit, continuing forever without end (无限的供应量).
25. potable: pure or useful for human consumption without causing disease (可饮用的,适合饮用的).
26. electrical generators: 发电机
27. deeply: 深切地
28. natural resource: a valuable item which occurs in nature and from which man can obtain a positive use (自然资源).
29. ice fields at the polar areas: large areas of ice found in the Artic areas (极地地区的冰层).
30. water levels: the depth of water in a body of water like a lake, an ocean, etc. (水平面).


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