Water Woes

In Mexico, you cannot just turn on the faucet and expect that water will flow out. The city sends water, on a schedule that only they know, to different neighborhoods at different times, when they feel like sending it. And sometimes, during dry spells or when workers are off during holiday periods, maybe not at all.

To make sure that they have water when they need it, everyone here has a cistern or a water tank or two or more, or both a cistern and water tank(s), so when the water “falls,” they can capture it for use later. Some in poorer, less serviced areas even fill their yards with various containers to capture rain water, lest they run out. And when the water “falls,” you capture as much as you can.

In this house, the city water fills the cistern for the rest of the house first, before it fills the tank on the roof. This is adequate most of the year, since my room is vacant, but can be a bit problematic when I am here. If the city does not send enough water to fill the cistern, the water never makes it to the water tank on the roof, and I have no water! I have to resort to carrying buckets up the spiral staircase for washing and flushing the toilet. A might inconvenient.

Ready to take a bucket shower, MexicoAs happens at least once every year, I ran out of water recently. No problem. I heated water on the stove, carried it upstairs, and took a bucket shower. Sounds a bit primitive, but actually a bucket shower is a very efficient and water saving way to bathe.  All you need is a bucket of warm water, a bowl, and your soap. You simply pour a bowlful of water over your body, soap up, and use the bowl again to rinse off.  You can even wash yesterday’s clothes or your underwear, all in a gallon or two of water. The average American runs more than that down the drain just brushing their teeth.

When I came back at noon the next day, I found the front door wide open (very unusual), pvc  pipe and tools all over the front room, and a burly plumero and several younger ones (most likely his sons) pounding, drilling, and running in and out.   Irma said something about water and Rotoplas (the water tank on my roof) but I didn’t fully understand her flurry of Spanish.

Shortly thereafter someone was pounding on my roof and I heard water running into the tank. Appears there will be more water and fewer dry spells in my future.

What is your “water sense?” Check here for 100 ways to conserve water useage.

How do your conserve water where you are?

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2 thoughts on “Water Woes

  1. We used to live on a very old homestead in the Hill Country that got all its water by a windmill that pumped water into a tank. The system was barely adequate during the best of times for the very old plumbing from the tank to the house had leaks and the wind didn’t always blow.

    Then one winter we had a record breaking freeze and despite keeping the windmill blades free to move the freeze froze the pull rod inside the windmill and it broke during the dead of winter. It took us 3 months to save up to get it repaired. During that time we too learned how to stretch water use due to the fact we had to haul every drop of water in from other sources. Plus the only heat we had was an old wood stove in the living room.

    I heated water on the stove. A little used for wipe-em-up baths standing in front of the stove, them we washed hair capturing the water in the kitchen sink, then washed dishes, floor then flushed toilets. Laundry got taken to the laundry mat..

    We slept in longjohns and a winter cap for we could see our breath in the night when the stove burnt down… Which was every hour. It was small and only held one log. So we let it burn out at night while we cuddled together snug in bed then one of us would get up early in the morning to put a log in the stove.

    Bret was a terrible fire starter so often the log didn’t “catch” until the kids were on the bus and Bret left for work… It was funny, our life in the winter centered around that little stove in the living room. We dressed there, ate there and played there. When the kids went to school their night clothes were in little piles on the floor around the stove.

    When we later moved to Oklahoma to modern conveniences we were like people new to modern life. “Hey ma, this little switch on the wall turns on a light! Hey ma, there is water in the pipes! And this little box on the wall turns on the heat!” Ha!

    Some live rough in places you wouldn’t expect. There is one family in our congregation that lives just like this. They haven’t had a water heater in 3 years, no heat for longer than that and had no water all last winter. It wasn’t that they couldn’t do better, the men in the family were just too lazy to do the repairs. The men drank their money leaving our sisters living rough. One of the young sisters stayed frequently at my house. The only way to help when the women in the family won’t put their foot down and raise a ruckus!

    I am glad you will have water now! Hauling water up stairs is no fun! On Jan 22, 2015 4:06 PM, “The Adventures of Blue Bear” wrote:

    > The Adventures of Blue Bear posted: “In Mexico, you cannot just turn > on the faucet and expect that water will flow out. The city sends water, on > a schedule that only they know, to different neighborhoods at different > times, when they feel like sending it. And sometimes, during dry spells or > “

    • You have had some adventures yourself. Thanks for sharing them. I remember visiting some friends of my dad’s near Lincoln, Nebraska. Their only heat was the woodstove in the kitchen. There was a big grate that let the heat rise to the middle of the second floor, that you stood over to get dressed in the early morn. I found it a bit strange to be looking down on people who could be looking up at you as you were dressing.

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