Bermuda rooftops are clad with white-painted (traditionally limestone) tiles and meant to be kept immaculately clean because they are the front line in the collection of rainwater.
The island has no source of freshwater to speak of and groundwater runoff is contaminated with nitrates from agricultural fertilizer, vehicle emissions and other airborne contaminants from as far away as the Eastern Seaboard of the United States.
Rainwater is funnelled to underground cisterns (tanks if you’re a local) and, fingers-crossed, lasts the summer. Where well water is available it’s used for flushing toilets and watering gardens — and the circle continues. The tanks have to be drained, cleaned and repaired periodically, and the whole shebang means for a thriving bottled water, filtration and reverse osmosis equipment market.
The Bermuda Sun Water Report
The Bermuda Sun had an annually-recurring calendar of topical- and seasonal-themed supplements and ClearWater Systems (Bermuda’s water treatment elephant-in-the-room) owned each spring’s Water Report supplement from 2009 to 2014, the year that both the paper stopped publishing, and ClearWater’s General Manager, a gem of a man by the name of Chris Merritt, who had become my best friend over the years, passed away.
The Sun was a fab tabloid newspaper. It was easy to hold and a pleasure to read, and their advertising department, Claire in particular, was a treat to deal with. The first two of the three outside back cover ads that follow are the ones that worked best for ClearWater. The third was only possible to write because the management and staff were practically family at the time. I was incapable of writing anything else.
The “Glass Half Full” ad copy was 11 words. The “60:40 Water is Life” ad was 92 words. The two messages were exactly the same.
“Glass half full” ad copy
You’re concerned for your health.
We’re concerned for your water’s health.
“60:40 Water is Life” ad copy
The human body — young or old — laughing, crying, kissing, hugging, singing or dancing — is about 60% water. Water is life and ClearWater Systems has been Bermuda’s trusted source for safe drinking water technologies since 1997.
We install and service world class equipment so that you and your family can enjoy the safest, cleanest, clear water in Bermuda. So if we’re taking care of 60% of you, all you have to do is make the most of life — smile, snuggle, skip, revel and love — with your other 40%
The toughest-ever copy to write
On Saturday, April 26, 2014 ClearWater Systems lost a dear friend. Chris Merritt, our G.M., was with the company almost since day one. He stood up for, cared for and worked as hard for his staff as they did for him. He was kind, fair, understanding, resourceful, resilient and above all, he had a smile that could melt your heart and a joie de vivre extraordinaire.
He was a proud Canadian, a proud father, a very, very proud grandfather and an institution in Bermuda. May the Gosling’s and single malt be plentiful wherever the winds carry you sir. Farewell, farewell to your Nova Scotian charms. We miss you and love you man!
— Christopher Merritt, March 6, 1949 – April 26, 2014
Featured image of Bermuda rooftop courtesy user: Acroterion at Wikimedia Commons.