Thursday, September 3, 2015

Living with irregular water supply

We currently live in a very beautiful place; however, some of the utility systems there have their imperfections. Among other things, water supply can sometimes be unreliable. It doesn't happen every day, but for example, yesterday we spent almost the entire day without running water; we had one hour of running water in the evening - we only just managed showers, and it was gone again. This morning, we've had no running water either. Perhaps some of you, living in the remoter spots, are facing the same challenges. Here are some ways to manage:

1. Home cistern - that one is pretty obvious, but it is an expense we still aren't sure we are prepared to venture into. It does work well for some families here, though. They have cisterns which get filled when the water is running, and if the water supply is cut off, their cistern can last them for days (depending on the size of their family and how they manage showers and laundry).

2. Do not delay - if I have a load of washing to do, I do it; if I have dishes in the sink, I do them. There are few things more frustrating than leaving a sinkful of dishes "until later" and then being unable to do them because your tap stops running.

3. Collect dew - there is a lot of talk online about collecting rainwater, but in Israel, we generally have no (and I mean no) rain from May till October. You would be surprised, however, to know how much dew we manage to collect by placing buckets in strategic places beneath our front door awning. We get around two buckets a day, which we give to our chickens and, in some cases, use to flush the toilet.

4. Save what you can - for me, this usually means water from the baby's bath. It can be used for washing the floor and, again, flushing the toilet if there's no water left in the tank.

5. Keep some bottled water on hand - we always do that, so that at least we aren't stuck without drinking water. Yesterday we gave away some water bottles to a neighbor of ours who was at home with a very small baby and no water for drinking. You don't want that to happen to you.

Here are some more lovely suggestions from members of the Down To Earth Simple Living Forum:

"We have a slightly erratic water supply and will often (maybe a couple of times a month) have a day with no mains water. We have rainwater tanks in the garden and, when it rains heavily, we make sure we fill other water containers from the overflow. We use these containers for flushing the toilet - the water isn't clean enough for other uses so we always have bottled drinking water on hand too."

" if you can invest in a tank of some kind then I would do so, with a pump to get the water from the tank into the house - assuming you are not without power & water at the same time! Is there a spring anywhere near for drinking water? If so this is a better/cheaper option than buying bottled water for drinking all the time."

"I have not lived under the conditions you describe however my mother inlaw did when she lived in SriLanka.
her motto used to be " what do I absolutely have to have to survive" 
she kept bottled water for drinking as it was not always safe for her to walk out of her compound to go fetch water. She felt she could live without a shower short term , at least until it was daylight and she had an escort. 
For longer term water shortages she just washed underclothes by hand with fresh water from the toilet cistern that she then used for flushing the toilet ( only once a day )"


Lady Anne said...

This reminded me of the winter we didn't have any running water at all in our house. It wasn't fun, but we did have a well and a hand pump, so we managed. Very "pioneer-ish". Amazing what you can do when you have to.

K~ said...

In India we fill buckets when there is water. That way we always have some on hand. There is less than there would be with a cistern, of course, but at least we have water saved! You can also save "grey water" from washing clothes/hands/veggies to flush the toilet.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Oh, and I forgot another important tip: have plenty of disposable dishes on hand. Not very environmentally friendly, but sometimes necessary.