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wotd: potable

potable \POH-tuh-buhl\, adjective:
1. Fit to drink; suitable for drinking; drinkable.
1. A potable liquid; a beverage, especially an alcoholic beverage.

These signs are all over in Tucson: in public parks, along landscaped medians, at golf courses. I suppose, if you'd been outside for a long enough time on a hot summer's day, you might consider drinking from the irrigation system, but if you live in Tucson you carry potable water with you pretty much everywhere you go. If you're a dog, though, you can't read, and you can't carry your own water, and if it's hot and your master has you on a long walk, you might just drink from the irrigation system, despite the written warning.

Cassie did just that one warm summer morning, halfway through our walk around Udall Park. A woman walking toward us saw Cassie drinking from a puddle that had formed around a sprinkler head. "That's reclaimed water," she was sure to tell me. At first I didn't understand what she was getting at. My dog shouldn't drink the precious water meant to keep the grass green? Was I stealing city resources? Did she think Cassie might get sick from drinking nonpotable water? I should have said, "That's OK. She's a reclaimed dog." But I think I said something like, "That's OK. She eats poop."


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