poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘water conservation

water, water

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In the middle of the night, five days ago, I woke to the sound of our water pump laboring.  The pump never comes on if no one is using the water, so I guessed something could be wrong.  I counted the seconds and after a count of sixty, I knew we had trouble.  The pump usually shuts off after about a minute.  While I ran off a bit of water, my husband went down and shut off the pump.  Our little saga of renewed water appreciation had begun!

We are on a private well, and so we tend to take our water for granted.  It has a delicious earthy taste, and our well supplies water at a rate of about 20 gallons per minute, so we never have quantity problems.  I am always grateful for our well water when I taste the chlorinated city water, which I have never been able to get used to.  For 20 years, our jet pump has done its work faithfully, so we are never without good, clean water, except during the occasional power outage.  Just in case, I always keep about 40 liters of water available in jugs, as a supply for these situations (the Emergency Measures Organisation suggests an emergency supply of at least 2 liters of water per person per day for the first 72 hours).

The next morning, we called the plumbing company and they came right away, replacing our old pump.  But after using all my emergency supply of water to try to prime the new pump, it became obvious that we have a clogged foot-valve… the pump would not prime.

We now have to wait until Friday for another service to come, pull up the well pipe and replace the foot-valve.  In the meanwhile, we are getting a lesson in water use and conservation.

Our main uses of water are for drinking and cooking, washing ourselves, rinsing vegetables, cleaning our dishes, and flushing toilets.  Fortunately, I had a done a big laundry after returning from our recent vacation, so laundry will not be a problem for a while.

Meanwhile, we have adopted a hierarchy for water use, saving the remnants of each use … the grey water from bathing and doing dishes gets reused for toilets.

It also rained for the first two days of our water shortage, so I collected enough water to keep ahead of our bathroom needs for the first couple of days.

Our other source of water for the bathrooms is our dehumidifier.   It puts out about a half-bucket of water a day.  In ordinary times, this water goes down the drain without a thought, but now it is an important source for flushing the toilet.

For our other uses, we are lucky to be able to buy water from the grocery shelves.  I can’t remember when water became a commodity, but I know my parents bought water occasionally in the 1980s.

Of course, we can also get our water from relatives and neighbors, or drive to a nearby lake, but our ‘crisis’ should be over by Friday.

This experience has been a good reminder for me, not to take water for granted.  I used to repeat this message when I worked in the field of water conservation during my years with government.  How easily I have forgotten my own advice!!!

Copyright Jane Tims 2012

Written by jane tims

October 3, 2012 at 7:42 am

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