Monday, September 19, 2011

Cool, Clear, Water

I don't just live in Australia, but in RURAL Australia.

Most people out here are on tank water instead of city pipes or something like that. It's about the equivalent of being on your own well water and not sharing with anyone else. These tanks colect rain water from your roof and have basically a screen filter to filter out leaves and dirt. Though, if your fire is very smoky while it's raining, you might end up with smoke-flavoured water.

We, in our new house, share a 5,000 gallon tank with our landlord, who lives on the same property, but is blocked by trees and so we really never see much of each other (though he seems quite nice). He doesn't use much water during this time of year, just boils a little in his kettle for drinks and what I'm assuming is some kind of sponge bath, based on what he's told us. My husband and I, as water saving measures, try to take less then 10 minute showers (which is hard to do if you want to actually shave your legs AND wash your hair), use very little water to wash dishes, have a water saving washing machine (and really, I only do 3-4 lads a week, if that), and try to not flush the toilet every time it's used (gross, I know, but come summer when it stops raining so much, we won't have as much water to use for, say, drinking, if we did flush often).

However, we've been hearing the water pump run. Frequently. When we're not using any water. ANd, as none of our pipes leak and our toilet doesn't run constantly, we thought perhaps that our landlord was using more water then he claimed. Perhaps something to do with his fruit trees. Or a kinked hose or something. But nothing we were worried about until he came up to drop off the rental agreement and chat for a bit and started taping on the water tank while explaining how to clean the filter.

He was surprised when it sounded the same at every level he was tapping on it. And looked happy, saying it must be full, when he thought it would be at three quarters at least. I thought it sounded empty, because water doesn't generally sound THAT echo-y when you hit the container it's in.

So after he left, My husband climbed up on the tank and looked in. Sure enough, there was a little over a foot left in it. He called up our landlord to tell him about it and see if they could locate where the leak was. He thought it was our toilet, and told us how to fix it, until we showed him our toilet and he saw it wasn't running. Turned out, it was one of his own fittings on some hose he'd done earlier this year. It was some sort of T-fitting (or whatever, I didn't listen that well apparently) that he'd attached to the pump, another pump, a hose, and the a tap of some sort that had nothing to seal it off, but he thought would be fine since there was a tap.

It obviously didn't seal off correctly, ever, and has been hemorrhaging water.

Our landlord went off to fix it, and filled up the tank to about half full, using a pump, with creek water. (So I'm now boiling drinking water and putting it in bottles in the fridge, because the filter doesn't filter out bacteria or whatever the guy up the road uses on his farm) He also gave us $50 for the power bill, because of the pump constantly running, and because it was his fault it was running.

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