On the other hand, it's odd to try to reset my thinking about water to apply to things here. When I'm traveling in Central America, I'm used to thinking of any uncooked food that's wet as suspicious. Lettuce is pretty much always right out. But I'm not used to thinking that here! I'm less likely to accidentally drink a glass of unboiled water and more likely to accidentally wash some vegetables without thinking about it.
It'll make me really happy if this event gets more people thinking about water in the world, though, and that seems to be happening, so that's great. And it'll also make me happy if it gets more people thinking about our own infrastructure. The scariest class I took in grad school was exploring the current state of the major infrastructure systems in the US. They're pretty much all a disaster, and no one really knows where the money is going to come from to fix them. I feel internally conflicted about the fact that a big problem like this one (or, for example, the bridge collapse in Minnesota in 2007) makes it a lot more likely that money will get directed toward shoring up the system. And since this is a problem not only in eastern MA, but in many other places (like bridges were and continue to be), this is a pretty broad good. Of course, then I have to wonder where the money's going to come from to fix it; I fear we're in for a rough few years as our lack of investment on this sort of thing comes home to ... uh, burst pipes.