Tales from the Well - stories about water, place and memory

Tales from the Well - stories about water, place and memory (Radio Adelaide)

CBAA Web Articles., 18th September 2014

By Nikki Marcel

Adelaide tap water tastes disgusting.

It’s renowned for being the worst in Australia and people go to great lengths to get good drinking water from anywhere but the tap. I used to get rain water from my Nans house in the Adelaide hills but she’s moved and I really miss the taste of her old galv tank. It’s a unique flavor that’s quite different from plastic tanks or bottled spring water. I had to find a new source of good drinking water.

I’ve often looked with curiosity at the people lined up to get water from the West End Brewery Charity Fountain on Port Road in Thebarton. I drive past it every day and there’s always a queue of cars in the driveway with people standing around filling all kinds of containers. They pay $2 for 15 litres of filtered groundwater from an industrial strength water dispenser. In 12 years it’s raised $2 million dollars, which the Brewery donates to various local charities.
Not only does the constant amount of people at the Fountain catch my eye but it’s the diversity of people that makes it really interesting. There’s all ages, genders and cultural backgrounds. I wonder how people got water before they came to Australia? Did they have to travel far or queue for it like they are now? I imagined they were shocked to find the water tasting so bad here and bet they didn’t picture themselves needing to queue for good drinking water in Australia – after all this is a ‘first world’ developed country.

So I stop to find out – what’s so good about the water at this modern day village well? I meet Australians originally from Laos, Burma, Italy, America, India, Croatia, Kazakhstan, Ethiopia, Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Serbia, Congo, Philippines, Liberia, Tanzania, France and Greece. They all have interesting stories to tell and all share a deep conviction that the Brewery’s water is the best in town. Through a discovery of different cultural and spiritual attitudes to water I’ve developed a new appreciation of water and finally get it - water is life!

For more info, photos and podcast click here.

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