Rain Dance

Sunrise, cloudless sky, Taxco de Alarcon, MexicoI have awakened every morning for the past 10 days to the glow of another perfectly cloudless day. Some would say, “How wonderful! No chance of rain to spoil your activities.” And that is true.

However, the flip side of that is that if there is no rain, the river and underground sources of water that quench the thirst of this city dry up. I have not heard the water fall but once for a very short time in the past two weeks. This means the water in the cistern is getting low and lower; not quite empty, but close.

With an extra person living in the house now, that means we use even more water. Add when a group of 7 or 8 relatives just show up for the weekend, all the extra bathing, toileting and dirty dishes that needed to be washed, well…

Last week when I was confined because of my knee, I could thankfully get water at the laundry area on my patio. I purchased a calentador (an electric heating coil) to heat water in a bucket so I did not have to carry or have carried hot water to bathe with.

Water heater

Water heater (calentador)

Shortly thereafter, though, the cistern level was too low to get any from that source. So I have been carrying (or more accurately lifting and setting two steps at a time) a bucket up one flight. Thankfully, not three.

Last night, even that appears to have come to an end. As I drew water for flushing the toilet, I was able to get only 1/2 bucket from the tap. I do hope that the strong, young teenager of the house is willing to schlep a bucket of water up to the roof each day because though I am up to the challenge of hefting it one floor, my knee, still a little weak from my fall, has all it can do to lift me up three flights of stairs without adding 25-30 pounds of water.

Maybe it is time to pray for rain or at least that the water department bless us with a little “fall.” Actually, at this point it might be best to run out completely so we can clean out the cistern and buy water to fill it up.

But you know…

Things could be worse; at least we have water in the house. Vanessa reported that the house they put her in in San Luis Potosi has none at all, except during the rainy season (which this is not). She must go to the house of a friend two blocks away (where they have plenty of water) to bathe.

Sometimes in another country life is truly an adventure.

So, when you turn on your faucet today, and clean, drinkable water comes rushing out, think of the millions in this world who do not have that luxury. And please, don’t waste even a single drop, for as a friend here said recently, “You can live without heat, or food, or electricity, you can live without a lot of things, but you cannot live without water.”

Simple Pleasures

It is a beautiful day in the neighborhood!

Sunrise, Taxco de Alarcon, Mexico

The water has been “falling” for long periods of time for three days. Every day I would turn on the bathroom faucet hoping to see water come out.

No, no, nope!

This morning I turned on the faucet and, lo and behold, water. Hooray! No more heating water in the kitchen (which adds 20-25 minutes to my morning routine), or carrying a bucket of hot water up to the fourth floor to take a bucket shower.

With an extra person in the house, who I just learned shares the water in my tank, resources are still scarce so I compromised. I got wet, turned the water off and soaped up, then turned the hot stream on again to rinse off. OK I luxuriated an extra moment under that heavenly stream of hot water (do you blame me?) but not much. I want this tank of water to last awhile.

Funny thing is, I just got my shower back here and I am going to the country for a week and it is back to a bucket shower.

Will give you a full accounting of my trip when I return.

Taking Things for Granted – Agua

I admit it, I am guilty!

After being so careful about my water usage for months, when the pump was installed to send water to the roof, I was giddy with excitement. Water, was mine, whenever I needed it!

With the prospect of water at the turn of the handle, each and every day, I got a little extravagant. Not a lot, but I treated myself to a long, hot shower or two, or three — okay, a couple of weeks worth. It just feels so good to ease into the day under a stream of hot water.

Well, I paid for my extravagance (don’t we all eventually?) because I woke up this morning to a pitiful dribble which signaled the end to my showering, at least for now.

In investigating the situation, it seems that “la bomba esta defectivo y no esta trabajador.” (The pump is defective and it’s not working.) So it is back to carrying a pot of hot water up three flights of stairs. That will teach me.

Bucket shower supplies

Showering essentials: hot water, cold water, and a calibrator….


Did you know that water weighs 8.34 pounds per gallon (at 62 degrees)?

Now that raises the question, does it weigh more at 200 degrees or less when it is frozen solid? After all ice floats.

Hmmmm, inquiring minds want to know.

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?