Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Fresh water please!

Dad sent pictures last week of a well drilling operation on their property in Mexico. Their home is outside the city and the water source has been unreliable. In Mexico, there are definite dry and rainy seasons and they go for months without rain. More than one attempt had been made to dig a well, but under the soil is a layer of volcanic rock;-not surprising when you build your house on the side of a volcano!

So it was time to call in the big guns.

Mom called me last week from a park where they had gone to get away from the noise of the drilling, which had gone on for a couple of days. This drill could go through rock, albeit slowly, and they were hoping to find a good source of water soon. (I just received a phone call from Mexico and heard that they did find water!)

Our former pastor moved earlier this year with his wife and four young children to Azerbaijan. They are pastoring a church of expatriate English speaking people who work in the oil industry in that eastern European country. They have a blog and in their last post Rhonda wrote,

"We get water every two days from 3:00-9:00pm. We have to fill our water tank during this time and the water is pumped out as needed. We have not yet run out of water before having to fill the tank again. If we are out of power (which we were the other day–10 hours during the day) we don’t have water since the pump runs on electricity. When the tank is filling up we don’t have water so it is a little inconvenient since it is around the supper hour that we have to fill the tank. It takes anywhere from 3 to 4 hours to fill."

Lake Ontario from Niagara on the Lake, looking across at the Toronto skyline

I rarely think twice about turning on the tap. Our community has lawn watering restrictions, but other than that, we can use water freely. Our water rates are reasonable and our supply is reliable. Surrounded by the Great Lakes and numerous smaller bodies of water, it is easy to take this resource for granted. I once read a story about life in Western Canada during the droughts of the 1930's. A visitor from the east took a sponge bath and proceeded to throw out the dirty water. Her hosts were appalled with the waste, as dirty water was used to water the vegetables. Every drop was precious.

Have you ever lived where water is a very precious commodity?


  1. Obvious comment here where rain is measured in millimeters and reported in the news.
    We have rooftop tanks to buffer the water supply (200 ga per house), but then we also get our "cold" water at 35-40C in the summer time. Exposed as the tanks are to sun and heat.
    The water supply here is desalinated and that can also cause problems (health, pipes).
    Canada with 25% of the world's fresh water is an envy.
    And I miss it.

  2. Anonymous6:08 am GMT-4

    You know, it's funny. Even as a kid I remember thinking how silly it was to be taught to turn off the water while brushing your teeth and all that other water conservation stuff. I still followed the recommendations. But... I lived on a lake. It rained often. It seemed silly. After living in Phoenix for a couple of years, though, I began to understand. We surely are blessed to live where water is plentiful. I love rain and fog and mist and snow...

  3. I have never lived where there wasn't a fresh water supply, so I take fresh water from my faucet for granted. We do have a shared well and had to get a new pump several years ago, so were without water for about 12 hours, but were able to plan in advance.

    However, I still try to conserve as much as possible. NO lawn watering--only flowers and vegetable gardens (when needed) and filling the birdbaths every day.

  4. SLD- I was looking in your blog for a post about water in the UAE to link to. Rooftop tanks of hot water cannot be refreshing. We are very fortunate here!

    Jennifer- It is interesting that your family was conservation conscious when you were small. The best lessons are learned young. I have lived where tap water is dangerously impure. It is easy to complain about the weather you describe, but desert and drought conditions are far worse.

    RuthieJ- I think people with wells must be more aware of their water purity and availability. Wells around here have been impacted by industrial contamination and over use.


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