It was midnight, I needed to go to the toilet.
I switched on the bathroom light and turned on the tap.
Nothing came out.
I was feeling a little dazed so couldn't quite register what was happening.
I tried the taps in the bath...
I began to panic.
I went downstairs and thankfully found some water trickling through the kitchen tap.
I left the kitchen door open and quickly ran upstairs to go to the toilet and return downstairs to wash my hands before the water ran out there.
I managed to wash my hands and then the water stopped flowing in all of the downstairs taps too.
THERE WAS NOT A SINGLE DROP IN THE WHOLE HOUSE.
I couldn't function. I was thinking about the following morning when the kids would need to use the bathroom and all sorts of scenarios I would need water for.
What if one of the kids woke up and was sick? I wouldn't be able to bathe them, wash their bedding or carpet or wherever it landed (this has of course happened many times before).
I wouldn't be able to wash their hands after using the toilet.
They would then go and touch everything in the house and we would have bacteria everywhere. EUGH!!!
I have OCD and quite frankly life without a single drop of water felt traumatic.
My Mind Began To Wander...
Amid the distress, for some reason, I thought of the book 'The Tiger Who Came To Tea'. Why hadn't the little girl and her mother panicked when there wasn't any 'water left in the taps'?!!
My thoughts then turned to sewage water workmen traipsing through my house trying to find the fault.
I then thought of all those people that live without water for so many reasons, drought, lack of sanitation, flooding etc.
How do they cope? They can't wash themselves, their food, their pots, their clothes, they live without any access to water and somehow manage to survive.
Yet here I was in the first world, feeling like the world was going to end if I didn't have any water in my taps, knowing full well I could buy some from the local Co-Op when it opened the next morning.
According to Water Aid, 750 million people live without safe water.
"Across the world, women are wasting precious time walking long distances to collect dirty water. Girls are dropping out of school because there are no private toilets. And young children are not surviving to see their fifth birthday because of preventable diseases."
"Everyone, everywhere needs a safe and sustainable supply of water: for drinking, washing, cleaning, cooking and growing food. It's a basic human right.
Governments around the world have not done enough to ensure safe water reaches the poorest and most marginalised people in society.
In many countries around the world, taps, wells and pipes simply don't exist. Even where they do, they are often not affordable for the poorest people or are not designed to last.
Women and girls suffer the most. Wasting their time and energy to collect dirty water, often from far away, they miss out on an education, lack the opportunity to make a living, and have little chance to change things. They are also more likely to get sick with water-related diseases, which kill over 1,400 children a day."
(Source: Water Aid: http://www.wateraid.org/uk/what-we-do/the-crisis)
I have donated money to Water Aid for many years, I have had wells built in different parts of the world. I thought I was doing my bit, but as they (whoever they are) say; you can never understand someone's pain until you're the one who feels it and this night was a stark reminder for me. I thought I understood, but I didn't. Not until I felt the true anxiety of living life without any water.
Of course all of this worry was short lived for lucky old me. A nearby water pipe had leaked and therefore they had stopped the water. I reported the fault to our water company and beautiful, crystal clear water was once again flowing through our pipes within an hour.
Those pipes I had never once thought about in my whole life.
Those pipes that flush clean water through to my house, to my taps from miles away.
We are so fortunate to live in a society where basic human needs are fulfilled with such ease.
We need to think more about those people that don't have access to the most basic need to sustain life - water.
So from a thankfully short lived traumatic experience, I feel even more empathy for those suffering around the world. This empathy leads me to feel more compassionate and want to do more to change this situation.
Next time I turn the news on and see a story about people living through a drought, or floods affecting people's houses and lives, I won't just feel sorry for them. I will understand a lot better what they must be going through and will pick up that phone and donate more and encourage everyone I know to do the same.