Monday, May 24, 2010

The Water Tank

Venezuela does not have reliable fresh water supplies. The infrastructure is in a such a state of disrepair, that there is probably a 40% loss through leakage. Condominiums will have large underground water tanks and pumps to serve the building's residents, but even that is sketchy at times. Therefore, years ago, Tania and I bought a large 120 L plastic trash barrel to store water in. This is the way we always had an emergency stash on hand. 
We carried our plastic water container from our rental to our purchased home in 2007. Late 2009 and early 2010 has been a year of drought, and there has been daily water rationing for about 6 months. This means the water in our building is turned on only from 6:00 AM to 8:00 AM, 12:00 noon to 2:00 PM, and 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. As a result, we've had to plan all our water-based activities and chores during these times, i.e., take showers, get loads of laundry washed, wash the dishes, etc. Sometimes a shower means using a bucket of water and a sponge. I've never liked bucket showers. I started using a bicycle waterbottle to brush my teeth...same way I do when I go bicycle camping. 

About three months ago, Tania and I looked into the possibility of an auxiliary water tank for our condo. I had seen these systems in a friend's apartment in Caracas, so I knew they existed. We started researching and found a complete system; 520 L tank, base, float valve, and a 1/2 HP pump at our local mega-hardware store. Eureka! 

We debated for a week or two, wondering if we could afford it, and if we actually needed it. Finally, frustrated from taking a bucket shower after a bicycle ride one Saturday I decided I was going to spend the money and buy one. There were only three left, so we bought the system and it was delivered where it sat un-installed for another month. 

We finally got the system installed about two weeks ago and boy howdy is it great! We now have water and water pressure, including hot water, on demand during the hours when the building's water is turned off. We open and close the appropriate valves, flip the power switch, and listo! Water as normal!


Gunnar Berg said...

I recently replaced a miserable failing dishwater with a high end Bosch. Now I feel vaguely guilty. Enjoy your shower.

SS:Mtn Biker said...

Kool beans Mims! :-D

Wish we could get off our well onto county water. A few years back,the county got the $ to run it this way,pocketed it,did a "self help" project,where the residents did all the work in exchange for free hookup. The exceptions were,if one was too elderly,disabled (and drawing disability) or could not physically be there due to occupation-I argued with these people many,many times via cell phone while sitting anywhere from TX to CA (not here in VA) in the tractor trailer,but to this day-even after log books,fuel receit copies and a letter from my then employer-they want us to pay a $1,500 deposit for hookup-a deposit that is NEVER returned (sounds more like a bribe or gift to me =/).

So,anyways,we stay on the well,which the filter of is across the property line on my Grandparents. They won't allow us to service or maintain it,but it's a real constant source of issues that they have to do it-and probably about 30% of the reason we will most likely sell and move once I'm finally approved on Disability.

Mimbres Man said...

Gunnar: Quality!
When we bought the appliances for the kitchen, We didn't get a dishwasher, but I did buy mostly Teka. ( The washing machine is killer! A small front loader, perfect for our space, doesn't use much water. My wife loves her Teka gas stove. It cooks fast and even.

SS: sounds like Venezuela-style corruption.

Echelon 133 said...


Have you graduated to, two tin cans a string?


Mimbres Man said...

We are wireless exclusively. :-D