A Cowboy’s Faith: Safe water to drink – Osage County Online | Osage County News

A Cowboy’s Faith: Safe water to drink

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“That blue green stuff in the pond can be deadly to livestock when they drink the water.”

As if there aren’t more than enough concerns with water supplies during this year’s drought, now another issue has arisen.

Evidently, the problem is nothing new, frequently occurring in certain locales during calm, sunny, dry, hot summer days. Still, there hadn’t been that noticeable predicament for about five years in the couple dozen ranch ponds.

Testing back then indicated what the college hotshots identified as algae blooms weren’t making poison water. But, who would know about this year? Cattle were supposed to be rotated into the pasture with the “contaminated” pond several weeks ago.

Now, they couldn’t be moved until water quality was checked. Contact was made with the microscope officials to see if hand delivering a water sample would speed up test results. Assurance was given that would be helpful. Yet, upon arrival at the laboratory, there was a different person in charge.

This paid government employee informed that their testing mechanism was out of whack. The water would have to be sent to another facility and it would take at least a week to hear back.

Grass was gone in the pasture where the cows were grazing, and they needed to be moved to more feed. That couldn’t be done if the pond water was harmful to drink. So, grub the pasture and ship the samples to another tester hoping results return faster than expected.

Every day, email and U.S. Mail were checked carefully with more than one phone call to verify the outcome. It was more than a week, then a couple additional days, and still no word.

Another call revealed the test was completed, and an email had been sent, but it came back due to a wrong address. Instead of calling to find out the right email and sending the results, the lab report had been tossed aside. Now, that’s really poor service and total aggravation.

Fortunately, when the email was corrected, reports did arrive. Most importantly, testing indicated the blue green algae infected water was safe for cattle consumption.

They now have more grass and colored water to drink, despite likely being none too tasty.

Reminded of Isaiah 33:16: “It will be their fortress of safety, and they will have all the water they need.”

030615-franksmug2Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.

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