Sunday, June 22, 2008

Third world village

When we moved to the boonies I had a few expectations of what life would be like. I knew we would be limited to going to the grocery store once a week, with my husband able to stop on the way home for staples if necessary. I knew our gas consumption would be high, and that planning to go anywhere in the city would always take us at least a half hour (usually more) of travel time. I knew I would see more cows, goats, and sheep than people on a daily basis. I also figured we might lose electricity more often than in town, especially during storms or snowy weather. What I did not expect was not having running water on a daily basis.

Before we moved up here, we knew that during the summer the local water company (which seems like it is run by the municipality, it isn’t the same as what we had in the centre) cut off water a couple hours a day in an effort to preserve water. A couple of hours a day is something I was fully prepared to deal with – it isn’t that long really.

For the first few months of life here, nothing was abnormal with our water supply. We were blissfully unaware of what the future would have in store for us. Suddenly, in February, we lost water for almost a week (thankfully not continuously, we’d get it back overnight usually). This was, apparently, the beginning of the end.

We had a few weeks of normal running water after the February incident, but into March the outages started to be more frequent and more frustrating (usually involving one of us being halfway through a shower when the flow stopped). By the middle of May we were fed up, and my brother-in-law engaged our plumber to install a small reservoir and pump system in the three occupied houses of our compound. So now, whenever the water goes out (which can be 8am or noon or 7pm, one never knows one day to the next) we can descend into the basement to turn on the pump and have water from the reservoir. It doesn’t hold much, so if the water is off for two days straight we’re screwed, but as long as I don’t do any dishes or laundry (things that are oh so hard to avoid because they are just such fun chores) we can manage a couple of days of showers and flushes and hand washing if we need to. Unfortunately, it is two of our cats that suffer the most because they happen to like drinking from the faucet, which I won’t turn on for them when we are using the reservoir (and I shouldn’t turn on for them otherwise, but I’m a sucker for squeaks and enlarged kitty begging eyes).

As before, I keep thinking I shouldn’t be whining about this. I should be grateful we ever have running water and that we have a reservoir when it is off. There are so many problems in the world right now and I’m bitching about a lack of running water. On top of all that, I know we should be using less water anyway as the available potable water all over the world is decreasing. But dammit, I want my water. I just wish everyone could have the luxury of running water.


Lulu Barbarian said...

Ouch! I'd rather lose electricity than water. :-(

CaliforniaKat said...

You know, the key to saving water is fixing the shoddy system and pipes that carry the water, which are wasting away half of the water we use each year, not cutting off a basic need.

Some have now signed a water treaty to save water, but I have this feeling that it's just on paper or an excuse as to why further cuts are coming, not actually fixing the problem at the root. Sad.