Water has no substitute.

In NH, it’s difficult to get serious about water. This week, I walked the Flume Loop trail that includes powerful waterfalls generated by both  Flume and Liberty Gorges. Water continually purified itself as it pounded over huge pink granite boulders. It seemed like an endless supply. Yet, water is probably the least respected natural resource we have, except in protected areas.

 Water is clearly the most valuable substance on earth. We cannot live at all without water and we can’t enjoy optimum health without consuming enough unadulterated water.

 Dehydration is associated with most of our diseases and conditions. One hundred years ago, many of the diseases and conditions prevalent today were practically nonexistent. Since then, consumption of water has been replaced by excessive reliance on coffee, tea, soda, beer and more, so that it is not unusual for a person to only drink 8 oz. or less of  water daily.

 However, in order for our body systems to function realistically, we need to consume half our body weight in ounces of water daily (including what we consume in our foods.) Water has no substitute. The above drinks mentioned are all dehydrators. They move right through our systems as quick stimulants without sustenance. Excessive sugar in sodas is converted and stored as fat. Sugar substitutes in diet sodas stimulate our appetite as much or more than sugar, hence our obesity problem. Excess protein in beer can’t be stored by the body; it’s converted to fat as well.

 Think of all the ways we use water. Drink it and water helps the body make plenty of enzymes to digest our food, provides enough liquid to turn the food we eat into a digestible slurry. Water can warm a chilled body and cool an overheated body. Water can relax strained muscles, heal injuries; it can be skied, skated and sailed on; bathed or swum in. We cook with it to soften and blend our foods. Water helps plants grow, provides for diversity and homes for fish…. The list is endless.

 Water is the number one issue that towns, states, and countries throughout the world must deal with currently and is already cited in water wars in our southwest and great lakes, as well as Palestine, for starters – all with the potential for disaster. Daily, in the news, we see how long term, limited clean water threatens lives throughout the world.

 Here in NH, it’s not too soon to check up on our rivers, lakes, aquifers and wells, to be sure that our water stays free of contamination. The NH Dept. of Environmental Services (DES) has volunteer programs to test lake and river water quality. See www.des.nh.gov.

 Local Conservation Commissions are concerned about failing septic systems and the need for people to do the right thing with garbage, gasoline, oil, sewage, etc. To be informed and do our part in our own communities, a good place to start is to attend our hometown Conservation Commission meetings and find out what we each of us can do to assure safe water. Time and place are listed on the internet and at local town offices.

 If we want to keep each other well, before it’s too late, we need to stay ahead of potential shortages and contamination so that we and our offspring can all enjoy cool, clear, safe water both now and in the years to come.

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