Zahrah Nasir Political posturing, criminally tainted with economic skulduggery, ruled the roost at the recent Copenhagen climate conference fiasco which, as the blame game continues, everyone is sick and fed up of hearing about and I don't intend adding to the muck raking here. Instead, I take off my right hand glove, slap the face of the climatically insane such as leaders from the developed world, especially from London and Washington, and challenge them to experience the negative results of climate change first hand Water, a total lack of it, is what I have on offer here in the mountains of Murree where, in many homes, not a dribble has emerged from the taps for three months at least. Being a compulsive recorder of things like weather conditions, migratory bird patterns and other natural phenomenon, I can vouch for the fact that over the last 12 years the climate up here has become both warmer and, ominously, drier, the preceding four years being of particular note. Living well away from any form of piped public water supply, other than the Murree Public Health Department one supplying water from Dunga Gali, via Murree, to the only 'posh' hotel in the vicinity, whose manager justifies this by explaining that the water is metered and paid for; local people here rely on springs and chashmas for this life-sustaining commodity, some having rigged up pipelines for the purpose, others depending solely on physically carrying what they need. True, a tiny number of moneyed people, primarily summer residents, have put in tube wells, tapping into what has rapidly become an overexploited, unsustainable, largely sewage polluted, source. Traditional seasonal water shortages, during early summer and early winter, have always been par for the course: summer monsoons and winter rains/snow bringing welcome relief but...the winter of 2007/08, summer of 2008, winter 2008/09, summer 2009 and now the winter of 2009/10 have drastically failed to produce the desperately needed moisture in any form. The water table has receded, springs and chashmas have run dry and, if the meteorological department is correct and it occasionally is, there is very little promised on the weather front other than dry, dry, dry. The daily grind of hauling water is, unless you have grown up doing it, unbelievably hard but, when all possible sources within reasonable walking distance have completely failed, this despite collection ponds being excavated ever deeper, how on earth does one manage then? With great difficulty is the answer, very great difficulty indeed Personally speaking I have had to resort to buying a certain amount of bottled water for drinking which, being firmly against all forms of this over-rated, sometimes even unfit for human consumption commodity, really goes against the grain. Whenever I venture out in to the big wide world using an ultra-expensive taxi, this is first loaded up with anything that will hold water, the containers being filled up in the homes of luckier friends living elsewhere, even in shops and offices I frequent at times. Personal hygiene is likewise attended to by showering when visiting friends...thank goodness it's winter so the frequency can be less Having carted a certain amount of water home, then the use of each and every single drop must be monitored relentlessly. In low temperatures clothes need not be laundered so often and, living a mountain life, dirty jeans and grubby sweaters don't matter in the least. 'Going out' clothes, if kept just for that, can be re-worn a number of times as washing them takes a frightening amount of water. When, out of sheer necessity, laundry has to be done, all used water is recycled, first for household cleaning and then for flushing the loo. Washing the dishes is a once a day chore, the used water being given to favoured plants or, flushing the loo. Hand washing water runs into a bucket, not the drain, for recycling also and so on. Not a drop, not a splash is wasted; even left over tea/coffee gets used somewhere How long this can continue is something I don't want to consider right now but, for the foreseeable future, I have no plans to bail out, move in to rented accommodation down in the Plains as some members of this scattered community, mainly those with large families, have already been forced to do. Luckily, many years ago, we had the foresight to install a rainwater collection system which has been a major help but, the tanks are all but empty now. Water tankers, if any can be found, cannot access our apology of a 2-3 km long road/track and the Murree Public Health Department has no intention of fulfilling its duty to the general public whilst it has bigger, lucrative fish to fry. It is under these trying conditions that residents of a country which is one of the world's lowest emitters of greenhouse gases, paradoxically listed as being extremely at risk from climate change in the 'Maplecroft Vulnerability Index', is beginning to pay the price for years of uncontrolled pollution pumped into our shared atmosphere by so-called 'developed' countries like America and UK, countries whose leaders still refuse to instigate meaningful, urgently needed, emission controls. Global leaders are most welcome to visit me here: they must carry they own water with them of course and refrain from cleaning their teeth for the duration or, alternatively, won't someone disconnect the water supplies to No 10 and the White House and see how they manage then? The writer is a Murree-based freelance columnist.