Imagine having your water supply turned off at home? How would you react? What would you do to cope with a limited water supply?
If you read Neal Shusterman’s novel, Dry, you might get a few ideas. You might also fear that such a thing might actually happen!
It is not unusual to read articles in the news lately discussing the use of scarce resources – water being one of them. Some Australian farmers currently have issues with water allocation, as a result of the drought. Those in political authority endeavour to meter out a scarce resource.
This premise is the basis of the story of Dry – leading to the extreme situation where parts of California simply have their water supply cut off. After a period of guided rationing, the taps simply run dry. This is an extreme level of the Tap-Out.
How people react to and adapt to this is told through the eyes of several young people – brought together as they try to survive the consequences of a community without water…
When their parents fail to return from a drive to get water supplies for the family, Alyssa and her brother Garrett look for them, accompanied by their neighbour, Kelton. This is even though Alyssa is not totally comfortable with Kelton.
Kelton’s family thinks they are not at risk. They have prepared for such times and are able to live off-the-grid, self sufficient in food, energy and water supplies. Because of their survival actions, they are considered ‘odd’ by their community. However, as the water crisis continues, the McCrackens become of greater interest to the locals, but not in a positive way.
Dry is told using various voices – mainly those of Alyssa, Kelton, Henry and Jacqui. These are interspersed with comments from others viewing the unfolding water crisis – reporters, rescue workers and others. The young people in the story are not super heroes who develop extraordinary power to bring life back to normal, but those who respond in a way to keep it real and authentic, with sometimes interesting results.
The Shustermans (father and son, Neal and Jarrod) give the reader lots to think about – when water management IS becoming difficult, towns ARE threatened with limited supplies, and even citizens of developed countries are CHALLENGED to seriously consider how they use natural resources. Living in California, they came up with the idea for Dry having seen and experienced the tragic consequences of local drought and bushfire, and other natural disasters across the globe:
“In California, we are constantly dealing with drought, and the possibility of the state running out of water has become frighteningly close. So that got us thinking about what could happen if so many millions of people were struggling to survive without water.” Source: Fiction Frighteningly Reflects Fact in ‘Dry’
Reflecting on the consequences of our taps being turned off – i.e. no running water supply, is an awkward place to be after reading Dry, but not one we should shirk. Recommended for all – read it before the movie comes out!
# What do you think you would need to do if your regular water supply was cut off?
## What would be the first thing you would do?
### How might your local community change? be impacted? react? Is Dry realistic about this?