World Cup Host City Jokes That To Save Water, People Should Shower In Pairs

Jul 6, 2018
Originally published on July 6, 2018 3:28 pm

Updated at 2 p.m. ET Friday

One of the upsides to hosting the World Cup is the hordes of international tourists and their bulging wallets that will inevitably descend. One of the downsides is the logistics of accommodating those tourists and their corporeal needs, including bathing.

At least, that's one of the adjustments the Russian city of Samara is trying to make.

On Wednesday, the public utility company explained it has recently ramped up the water supply by 10 percent as a result of the recent rush of fans and an ongoing heatwave, according to The Associated Press.

"Thousands of visitors to the city, also consuming water, contribute to the increase in water," Samara Communal Systems wrote in a press release.

In an effort to provide a constructive solution, the company encouraged residents to forgo solo cleanup sessions in favor of couple-showering to save water by taking showers in pairs, adding a cheeky smiley face to the end of the message.

"Save the water - take a shower together :) ," the statement read.

Since then, the utility company has issued a second statement, clarifying that the suggestion was intended as a joke and that the city is not suffering from a water shortage:

"Water supply and water disposal of Samara is carried out in a regular mode. All equipment 'RKS-Samara' works without interruptions and stably copes with the load. The message was to draw attention to responsible water consumption and the economical use of drinking water."

Both press releases were issued just in time for another wave of World Cup fans, who are expected to flood the city on Saturday when England faces Sweden in the quarterfinals.

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Since the implementation of the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy, migrants crossing the southwest border have dropped by 18 percent.


And today, Health and Human Services secretary Alex Azar said the government will comply with a court order to reunite immigrant children with their parents.

KELLY: That's right. The government faces a deadline - next Tuesday - to reunite children under the age of 5 with parents who are in custody. NPR's Richard Gonzales has been following the status of those children.

RICHARD GONZALES, BYLINE: Well, according to Secretary Azar, overall there are 11,800 minors in the care of Health and Human Services.


GONZALES: Eighty percent of those are teenagers, mostly males who crossed the border on their own. He also said that his agency has identified under 3,000 children who may have been separated from their purported parents, and those parents are in the custody of Homeland Security. Of those 3,000 minors, about 100 are under the age of 5, and they are in the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Azar said his agency has undertaken a manual review of all the case files and all the information shared by Homeland Security about who the parents are.

KELLY: And when you say there's under 3,000, is that a higher number than we had previously thought? I mean, we've been using numbers of something around 2,000.

GONZALES: That is on the higher side, but the numbers have always been a little fudgy. We were - assumed that there were between 2,500 to about 3,000.

KELLY: OK. Bring us up to speed on what deadlines exactly the administration is facing to get these children back with their parents.

GONZALES: Well, on June 26, a federal judge in San Diego ruled that the administration has to reunite children with parents. And for children under the age of 5, the deadline is next Tuesday. For children between the ages of 5 through 17, the deadline is July 26. Azar stressed what he called an all-hands-on-deck effort to verify parentage, go through all the files and make sure that the child was separated by the government. It's important to keep in mind that some of these children were in the care of HHS even before the administration announced its zero tolerance policy.

KELLY: Oh, so some of these kids have been in custody for months.

GONZALES: That's correct.


GONZALES: And because of the time constraints put on them by the court - and these time constraints Azar repeatedly characterized as extreme and artificial - they are doing DNA testing on the kids to confirm their biological parents.

KELLY: So, Richard, what about the central question of whether the government will be able to meet the deadline which is coming up very fast - next Tuesday - for reuniting the youngest kids with their parents?

GONZALES: Right. Azar said they will comply with that court order. He said that they're moving parents in ICE custody to facilities that are closer to the children that they have identified. They have not moved kids in with parents yet, but they will do everything they can to comply with the court order.


ALEX AZAR: With respect to the court's order of reunifying children in our care with parents who remain in ICE custody, that is a novel proposition because we've got a court order that requires at DHS, after 20 days, that you separate children from families in ICE custody and send them to us. We now have a more recent court order requiring that we send those kids back to DHS in ICE custody indefinitely. Now, of course our position is that that more recent order trumps the previous order.

KELLY: I'm listening to that, Richard, and I'm still confused over what exactly the government plan is for going forward here.

GONZALES: It is confusing. In essence what he's describing is setting up the scenario for another legal battle. Under the Florida settlement, children can't be detained for more than 20 days. But the Justice Department has petitioned in a separate court case that the government should be allowed to hold children with their parents indefinitely. That sets up a friction that has to be taken care of.

KELLY: All right, Richard Gonzales updating us on the latest, thanks so much.

GONZALES: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.