Wednesday, October 25, 2006

the water pump is god

Unless you've been living under a rock or on the other side of the planet, you are probably aware that the precipitation situation is not good... buckets in showers and tubs in sinks are becoming commonplace and I'm told that conversations about how best to utilise greywater are heard over the hiss of the coffee machines in Chapel Street.
When you live actually IN the bush, it's not about showing what an environmentally aware trendoid you are.
We're not connected to town water here. There's a dam and a 25,000 gallon rain water tank that collects from the house and shed roofs. 25,000 is a lot of water. More than enough for 2 people.
EXCEPT when something doesn't go as planned.

Example 1 : One day or rather one evening last summer we had a 6 hr blackout. From memory about a 36C day. Moderately inconvenient one would have thought. No A/C... uncomfortable but hardly a major issue. Until one realises that the pump connected to the tank is electric. No power also equals no water. Not a drop. Not for drinking [ okay 4km to the nearest convenience store and bottled water except this happened at night and the nearest 24 hr convenience store is 50 km away! ] not for flushing the you-know-what [ trudge up the hill to the little water tank next to the shed and fill buckets ... multiple trips ... groan ] and no showers.
Welcome to life in the country :]

Example 2 : a few months ago I woke up one saturday morning and looked out of my bedroom window to see a lake. Not a large lake, as lakes go, but definitely a lake. Thought to self: that's odd, I didn't hear rain last night, oh well. Proceeded through to kitchen, looked out that window to ascertain how much water was in the birdbath ... always a good rough guide to rainfall... and... zip... zero...zilch... ooooooh shit. Out the back and there was the hot water service sheeting hundreds of litres of boiling water all over the ground...
Now y'see, when this happens in town it's annoying and expensive but that's all. When all that water on the ground is coming straight out of your tank ... well you probably DO get the idea... sort of ... Frantic calls to rellies up the road for name of reputable plumber [ and don't get me started on how tradies up here are scarce as hen's teeth ]... why do these things happen on weekends? ... successfully contact plumber, find out how to turn off the water till he gets there ... and so on and so on ... and I'll spare you the rest of the tale except to say my hip pocket nerve is still twitching [ thousands, people, thousands!]

Example 3: last Sunday [ what IS it with weekends? ] I discovered large amounts of standing water where there shouldn't have been... Bloody hell... and the source this time? Ahh, there it was, flowing freely out of The Pump connected to the house tank.
Ah gentle reader, I see that you have already realised that this combines all the negatives associated with both examples one and two above. My precious water was disappearing into parched earth nowhere near the garden where it might at least do some good. The almighty Pump was not well and no Pump equals no water supply to house. Damn, damn and double damn.
Turn water off at the call to Pete, my 60-something next-door-neighbour who is rarely home but on this occasion, was. Pete is one of those nuggety, wiry little country blokes. You know the sort that looks like he was carved out of a mallee root. The sort that knows all the stuff this middle-aged city girl doesn't.
I am emphatically NOt a helpless female. I mostly manage to stand on my own tootsies but it's comforting to know that Knowledgeable Bloke lives a couple of hundred metres up the road.
Anyway, minutes later Pete was here with tools and a temporary replacement pump and directions as to who I should take The Pump to for urgent medical attention... cue twitching of the hip pocket nerve as it anticipated another major assault.
Yesterday Pump received the tender ministrations of the charming men at Midland Irragation in Bendigo who confirmed that Last Rites wouldn't be necessary just yet.I was overjoyed that my relationship with Pump was still intact and conveyed him home in triumph discover that Pete's pump had been quietly having conniptions at being dragged out of well earned retirement and was sitting in a puddle of precious fluids... I don't BELIEVE this.
I have another pump to take to Bendigo and I can only hope that the tender surgeons at MI can work another miracle.
At least in a glass-half-full kinda way, there was a replacement pump available when I needed it and mine was fixed in time to replace the replacement :]


Sheepish Annie said...

Urrgg! I hate "water" issues. Give me anything else: plague, fire, famine...anything!!! Water is insidious. It ruins anything and everything when its not where you want it.

Hang in there!

catsmum said...

yeah we thought the drought had broken last spring but now it turns out we're headed into another El Nino and it's just getting worse. No spring rains to speak of and farmers going to the wall right left and centre.

mehitabel said...

Australia seems to have worse droughts than anywhere else (except maybe the Sahara) and I really don't know what to say except that I've been there (drought conditions) and there (no power = no pump = no water) and you have all my sympathy!