Sunday, 15 April 2012


Contrary to expectation, and something of an anomoly, as we head into the rainy season, water shortages and water storage have been on my mind.

My experience thus far has been that when the island has high or sudden rainfall, the reservoir gets filled with silt and debris as water thunders down the mountainsides and rivers burst their banks. The result is heavily muddied waters and the need to close down pumping stations whilst the mud settles...hence no mains water.

Coupled this year with a further complication - it seems that following the passage of Hurricane Tomas, the water company believed it had removed much of the silt that had settled in our main dam/reservoir and that all was hunky dory. However, as water levels have dropped through this dry season, they have become acutely aware of the fact that a 20ft depth of what they assumed was safely stored clean water, is in fact 20ft of mud!  So a re-hash of calculations means the possibility of two things:
- if it doesn't rain soon, they will run out of water much sooner than anticipated;
- if it does rain torrentially, the silt will be disturbed and the water will require additional handling before it can be pumped.
- Either way, there are likely to be disruptions to supplies.

So, my efforts (and budget) this week have been rallied around the issue of that all-important and magical resource that we cannot do without - WATER!

Et voila! The completion of a much-pondered solution; a pair of gravity-fed water storage tanks are now purchased, plumbed and filled with 1200 gallons of water.  When full, the system will auto-switch to sending mains water direct to the house.  I know this is all very obvious to many, but growing up in the city meant I never had to think about where my water was coming from - it was just there whenever one turned on the tap.

The next major water projects include:
-  the creation of a rainwater-gathering system. This may have to be as simple as some rain barrels for now as to build a proper concrete, plaster-lined cistern would be too costly at present
- then there is the question of water for the new veggie garden which is some distance from the house, so requires a deliverable short-term plan for both a mini rain-water gathering system and piped mains water if I am to grow anything.......seems I shall be a very busy bee in these coming weeks.

In the meantime, having chosen the highest point on the whole plot, the tanks are fully operational. My eldest brother, who is an electrical wizard, kindly installed a pump for times when levels get very low - but for the most part, the high position and gravity will do the job very nicely and the pump will get very little use (hopefully).  At last, it seems there is some benefit to this very steeply sloping site!

When time and resources permit, I shall ask Handy Andy to plaster the blocks and add lattice doors and "windows" to prettify the structure, but right now, as far as I'm concerned it's a beautiful sight and will mean that I won't have to go 15 days without water as I did the last time they shut down the pumping station.

Nine months later - looking as though it's been there for years and working perfectly!




  1. Absolutely amazing! I guess that, no matter where you are on the planet, we all have our water problems, ha? Glad you have a plan :-)

  2. Wonderful solution. While we live in an area that gets plenty of spring, fall and winter rains the summer can be quite dry. We've installed a few rain barrels for watering but to me it never seems enough.

  3. Rather than waiting for your local utility to find a way to consistently provide you with water, you went ahead and got water tanks for storing water. Now that’s initiative! It is reasonable to start with small rain barrels, but if you think it wouldn’t be enough, I think it would be better to have a water tank available. And from the looks of things, seems like your water tanks are all set! That should definitely help you conserve water and reduce your water consumption bill.

    1. Thanks Richelle - in this part of the world, I think one would have a very long wait for consistent water provision from the local utility. It's my guess as more and more homes come kicking and screaming into the 21st century, and install/purchase indoor showers, bathtubs, washing machines etc., which many did not have before, the water consumption vs the ability of the local utility to provide, will become an even greater issue.

      For that reason, the next stage in my water storage plan, will be the creation of a large concrete water cistern to gather rainwater from the downpipes/roof run-off. I think this will be crucial going forward. During the last hurricane we were without mains water for 15 days. Add to that the threat of quakes & tsunami, you start to see many real reasons why having another source of this precious commodity is essential.

      Thank you for the interest and your comment - much appreciated.
      One day I will get back to writing regular and sensible blog posts again.
      All the best.