I’m continuing my amateur investigation into what makes Etseri’s most precious resource run, or not.
There are the two rivers which run through, one close enough to our house to give permanent “white noise” in the background, the other about 200m away from us. These, while delicious trout live in them, are also the outlets for at least five houses’ black water, that is, all the water from sinks, showers, washing machines and toilets. Then there is the spring which actually feeds all our water pipes, about 5km above the village.
This morning, after my wife took her shower, the water slowed to a trickle. Yet again. This time, although there were no guests staying, our workmen were building the café’s cement block parts, needing (of course) cement to join them. Powder, sand… and water.
I called the mayor of the village, irate, and told him the situation. He asked me to find out if the neighbors’ water was also off, which it was indeed; and then to go with one of them, which I had been waiting to do, and see where the blockage was, most likely caused by leaves in this season of fall.
We set off together; I was expecting a long trek to the spring itself, but there is a much closer point where trouble can come, and we checked that out first. Here, several 40mm pipes feed off the main, larger pipe, and serve the various hamlets, including ours. There is also a large concrete well-shaped structure through which the main pipe runs, with a shutoff valve to turn. This we had to close in order for my neighbor to detach and look at our pipe.
Sure enough, leaves were causing the blockage; he had a piece of wire handy to fish these out, then he closed everything up again, reopened the main valve, and we waited a few more minutes to see if everything was settled. He called his wife, and she told him that yes, the flow was back to normal. So far so good.
My main question at this point is: what needs to be changed to prevent falling leaves from getting into the water pipes and causing this blockage? No, they won’t be a problem in winter, only now; but the erratic flow is enough of a problem at any time, especially when one has water supposedly running inside the house, guests, bathrooms, a washing machine, showers, and so on.
And an observation: I have now seen firsthand what the possibilities are for anyone to go to this local water point and play with it. Turn things up or down, or simply detach something altogether. Now, I would rather err on the side of thinking good thoughts about my neighbors, not suspicious ones. However, I have also experienced firsthand the animosity which comes when they are jealous of others’ success in business; the threats and antipathy, the occasional petty theft when I’ve left something outside overnight, and so on. So, I don’t know.
It’s one thing to reduce the flow of water when that causes only frustration. But I have also experienced what happens when this is done upstream from us mid-winter, at -18 degrees C or so. Our pipes simply freeze. Mostly, this can be rectified and the flow restored, but not always or everywhere. The result: water right up TO, but not INTO, our house. We can fill a 250L container we have in our bathroom, and use its water everywhere. But we don’t have actual running water, which is the goal. Pour-over showers; toilet flushes by bucket; running the washing machine by bucket too.
So I hope to see the leaf issue addressed, and then the easy accessibility one, when the promised commission arrives to look specifically at water this week. Intrigued by what will be said, and done. As always at the moment, #mishavs means: “It matters to me”!