Sunday, October 30, 2011


Our water problems continue here.  The problem, however is a moving target.  One day it's the fact that 'low voltage' tripped the switch for the submersible pump (we have a series of pumps to get the water from the well to the tank and then to the house, another bunch of pumps for the pool, but all connected - it's a formidable setup), another day it's the booster pump that is out (for any number of reasons), or the hot water heater (geyser) which sits on top of the roof is not working or, or, or, or.... What ever it is, it is rare that we have hot water, water pressure, clean water and enough water all at the same time. By 'rare' I mean never in the time we have been here.
 First step was draining the tank.  clearly it's dirty, so the guys were satisfied with the fact that this project was necessary.  up they went.  The one not in the coveralls is the new supervisor.  He agrees to all my suggestions and then does not do them.  (In his defense this is how the way everything goes here, and he also has a supervisor to answer to and it's his mercedes-driving-smooth-talkin supervisor that is in charge of the checkbook.)
One huge, gigantic problem is that we have a tall house and two upstairs bathrooms. It's a long way up. Getting the water up three stories from an underground source at the end of the dry season is the first challenge -- distributing it is the next problem.  In this house, once you open the hot water tap in the kitchen (the lowest water point in the house) it pretty much drains the hot water heater (on the roof), so you can forget having a shower, filling the tub, etc until the evening or the next day.

We try to keep the property management company on top of maintenance...but it is a challenge to get them to spend money to fix actual problems and an even bigger challenge to ask them to put money into the house for things that may become problem.  Some projects they get excited about.  For whatever reason when I brought up the idea of CLEANING the water tank they were all over that.  Maybe b/c it's just a matter of labour and zero expense.  A few people we know have had their water tested and were more than a bit horrified at the results.  Others discovered ant or rat or other infestations in their tanks.  The workers has suggested that there could be frogs.  It's gross enough to think about that I couldn't STOP thinking about it, so when they agreed, I was right there with them....literally.  (They saw I was nervous and asked if I was afraid of heights -- I said I was but I was more afraid of falling.)

There was  a thunderstorm rumbling...the light was amazing but I was a bit concerned about them being up there.  This picture is taken from the top story bathroom window.  There is a little porthole that a person just barely can fit into, this guy (below) clearly drew the short straw and spent an hour in there scooping mud 1/2 liter at a time and handing it out.

It took a few hours to sort out the tank-cleaning logistics -- they  went up to assess the problem, drew straws, entertained my company up top for a bit, and in the end scooped out of foot of muck and mud.  They scrubbed the tank best they could and refilled it, we flushed it and put in a bottle of Clorin for good measure.

The guys, led by our fearless maintenance man, Gesham (l) (above, our roof behind them, you can just see the hot water heater) and below, the view of the marsh behind our house.  The marsh is soon going to be completely full of houses, a real shame for the natural water filtration that it provides to those downstream (there are 2 streams that run thru here).  It's pretty green and productive despite that we are at the tail end of the dry season, no rain since....February but for a freak downpour in April.

The only obvious result of the tank-cleaning project is that I feel a bit better about the water.  It's dirty as before -- it ran clear and actually smelled clean for about 24 hours - but at least I have assurances that there is nothing macro living up there...micro I'm certain of but we don't drink the water at all so I'm not too worried about that.  The laundry is back to being dingy again -- we had clean white sheets and shirts there for a second -- but it's a little peace of mind we were really after and that we got.  Still no water pressure, still not enough water, still no hot water, etc. sigh.  48 h after the tank-cleaning....back to brown. Sigh. What?  You aren't excited about having a bath??

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