Patience drying up in water crisis

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 30, 1999

The residents of Ferriday, La., are living the biblical story of Noah – except in reverse. Instead of dealing with rain for 40 days and 40 nights inside an ark, residents have been dealing with undrinkable water for almost a month and a half.

And it’s been about 40 days too long.

In our modern world, we all take some things for granted. It’s only when a crisis hits that we realize how fortunate we actually are.

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When we walk into a room and flip a light switch, we’ve come to expect that the lights will come on.

When we turn the handles on a faucet, we’d like to think that clean, drinkable water comes out.

The residents of Ferriday are learning the hard way how precious many of the things we often take for granted actually are. For nearly a month and a half, residents have been under a boil-water notice. The notice came after the town’s water plant began malfunctioning.

Shortly after the problems arose, residents started looking for answers. All they found instead were town officials who claimed to be concerned with getting the problem solved rather than engaging in finger-pointing. And weeks later, we still don’t know exactly how the plant managed to get in such a state of disarray. And the problems still haven’t been solved.

Eventually residents found that a frayed rope had been used to tie off a malfunctioning safety switch. And that was just one of several problems that led to the shutdowns.

Now as residents continue to use bottled water or boil tap water for their daily use, town officials still can’t give definitive answers on when the problems will be repaired. First we were told this week. Now it may be next week.

If we were residents of Ferriday, we know that all of our patience would have long since dried up.