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Showing posts from September, 2003

Letter 14: They simply did without: Water and Energy Shortages in Armenia

September 2003
The Blackout in North America this August is now almost forgotten. Yet I cannot help remember the number of times we thought we should teach these former Soviet Republics how to conserve energy. How they could make more airtight windows to keep the heat, how they can save water... This last item, water, is a sore point with me. I am now back in Yeghegnadzor, trying to renovate the house we bought, and I am frustrated that drinking-water only comes sometimes through my pipes-- for no more than one hour per day--while my neighbor downhill leaves his outside tap open to water his garden.

Yes, Soviet culture was based on energy and water supplies provided to every household. This surely led to unwise consumption and waste. I remember when Sheila used to keep shutting-off the kitchen tap in our host family’s home, which was left running when washing dishes. She tried to make a point of it. One day, she did that in front of some guests. Our housemother quickly exclaimed: Oh …