Monday, May 13, 2013

Living on Catchment Water

Thank goodness, the tradewinds are back.  One of our 5000 gallon tanks was empty after a couple of weeks without rain, but it's been raining at night the last few days, so we should be back to full, pretty soon.

It made me reflect, though.  Our first few years here, we only had a 2300 gallon tank, and the only time we were really low was the drought in 1998 - four months without a drop.  However, we've basically blown through 5000 gallons in just about 2 weeks.  This means the 15 year olds looooong baths really do add up! 

Living on catchment does indeed make you think about water consumption.  We don't think of it as much as some drier areas, I imagine, but you have a very physical assessment of your water use as you feel the water levels dropping.  The tanks are sealed, so I check their levels by feeling the sides of the fiberglass tanks. 

We filter our water through a number of filters - a few for bathing and washing water, and many for the one spigot of drinking water.  I do think our drinking water is the best ever, although I do encourage visitors to bring bottled water.  We bleach our water and then filter (7 filters before it hits the drinking spigot), but just in case.  The water is caught in gutters off the roof and sent to the tank.  It is pumped from the tank through the pump house filters and then to the drinking water filters.  Generally, beyond fiddling with the filters and one replaced holding tank, we have enough rain to not have to worry about our water system.  When there is an El Nino year, though, we have had to preserve some.  I don't know how the households that live in drier areas handle matters.  We do have two teens, 17 sheep, and a horse using this water, but we also have 10,000 gallons of storage capacity.

Every so often, a politician will run with the idea of "upgrading" the island so that we all have county water.  I always vote against them!  County water is just BIG catchment tanks; I'd rather trust my own water management and not be charged for what falls from the sky in a lot of abundance here in the rainforest. 

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