Today is World Water Day. I have lived in countries where water is a daily issue for the local people. In the rural villages of Cambodia and Peru, piped water and sewage disposal were just a dream and the threat of disease from contaminated well water and poor hygiene practices was all too real.
I feel privileged then to live in a country where I can take such things for granted and where I seem almost to be surrounded by water. Here in Cardiff, Roath Park Lake is just a 10-minute walk from where I’m currently living, the seaside at Penarth is only 20 minutes by train from my nearest station, and the city itself has grown up around the beautiful River Taff. The river rises in the Brecon Beacons, the mountains north of Cardiff, and winds its way down the valleys through several towns, across weirs and under bridges, into Cardiff Bay and, eventually, into the Bristol Channel.
Having recovered from a century of coal mining pollution, the Taff is now home to impressive quantities of trout and salmon, sightings of otter are on the increase, and a splendid variety of birds can be seen on, in and around the river.
A series of television programmes has recently been made about the Taff. Here’s a link to the first of these, which is currently available on iplayer.