Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Water in Mexico..

Okay, you shouldn't drink tap water, creek water, river water, lake water, or any untreated water in Mexico.  I buy 5 gallon plastic containers of water for both drinking and brushing my teeth.  But not only is water for drinking, it is for watering lawns, supplying homes with water to do dishes, wash your hands and a multitude of other uses.

The house I live in was previously just that, a private home.  My landlord, Raul, and his mother and business partner, have converted their home into 10 separate apartments.  The house sits on a large lot with lawn in the front and back and numerous fruit trees scattered throughout the property.  The complex requires a lot of water to keep the vegetation green.

The rainy season in Cuernavaca runs from late May to September, and water is not an issue during this period.  But for the rest of the year, it doesn't take long for the grass to turn brown and the leaves to start falling off.  Raul and his mother water daily during these periods, and it is fun to watch them.  They actually do have a sprinkler, but seem to prefer to hold their finger on the end of the hose and water the entire yard that way.  I guess it gives them time to think of other things.

Their house was originally built with a 500 gallon cistern located under the cement near the kitchen.  Also on the roof of the house is a 500 gallon water tank.  Water comes from the city water supply (when the city decides to turn it on for the neighborhood) and starts filling up both the cistern and the water tank.  The cistern is basically an emergency water supply in case the water tank runs out.  They have a pump located outside the cistern to pump water to either the roof, or to a hose for watering the lawn.

Now that there are more than just one family living on the property, they have added two more 500 gallon water tanks to the roof.  Water management is now an almost daily chore for the landlords.  The cistern is now too small for all the occupants, and the cistern is definitely not large enough.  For example, Raul's uncle recently built a house for he and his wife in the city, and their cistern is 2,000 gallons, and they have two 500 gallon water tanks on their roof.

Why the water tanks on all of the roofs down here you ask?  Well the water is pumped to the roof, and gravity provides the pressure to the taps and showers below.  This is why there is not usually a lot of pressure coming from the taps in Mexico.  Having the water tanks on roofs also allows them to heat up the contents inside, and some Mexican homes don't even need a hot water tank because of this.

An interesting side note.  One day my water pressure in my bathroom tap started to decrease drastically.  Raul and I pulled it apart, and we couldn't believe what we found.  A gecko had somehow crawled into my water tank above and drowned because it couldn't get out.  It then was washed down through the pipes and into my bathroom tap.  Quite a surprise finding this in the workings of the tap.

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