Monday, August 29, 2011

Water and electricity

When you live in the country, there are two things you think about having...and NOT having.

Power and Water.

Growing up and living my entire life on the Great Plains, I'm used to being aware of the importance of both power and water. We lost power on a frequent enough basis that we kids used to joke that the power would go out any time a cow peed near a power pole.

And there are a lot of cattle--and a fair number of power lines in SW KS!

Even today, the power will flicker, flash off and come back on fairly often. If we have a bad storm, the power can go off. Blizzards, thunderstorms, straight line winds; all can and do take out the power. I am prepared for the power to go out. I have lamps, we can keep warm, and usually, we have water available. So, a power outage is inconvenient, but not a big deal.

But when you well goes out...that's another story.

I don't have backup plans. I don't cope as well without water when I do have power. I worry more about the well and the water situation more. Maybe that's because I know that the maintenance of the well is OUR responsibility. The electricity? That's someone elses problem. They have to worry about the logistics of getting it back on. But water? That's all on us.
And since I don't know how domestic wells are set's a big worry for me.

With the drought going on and on , Kev and I have discussed our water situation. We've worried about running out of water. We worry because we don't have a clue as to how deep the well is, how much water is in it, or how old it is. No one could tell us any of this information when we bought the house. We've been running on faith with it. Faith that it's nice and deep. Faith that we have plenty of water. Faith that the well will run. Faith that we'll conserve and use our water wisely. Water is not an endless commodity out here and we try to be responsible users.

Friday afternoon, around 4, Andy called with news that no one wants to hear when it's 106 and dry..."Mom, there's no water."

I hoped that perhaps, with the demands on the electrical system, that we'd just blown a fuse. So, I told him to hang on, and we'd (meaning Kev) would look at it when we got home--around 8 p.m. because Miss Kat had a Volleyball scrimmage.

Once we got home, Kev went out and checked the breakers and flipped them off and on. Still no water. At 9, I decided to go back to bed and read for a while. As I walked by Andy's bathroom, I stepped in a wet spot.

What? I assumed that one of the dogs had been laying there licking themselves or maybe it was blood. (Emily, the lab. had scratched her neck raw earlier that day and it was still a mess.) So, I flipped on the light and discovered water. Looking in Andy's bathroom, I saw the sink full of water and water was running over onto the floor. The bathroom was flooded and, water even dripped through the floor down into the garage.

While I was glad to see we had water...I wasn't prepared for the mess. Apparently, Andy had tried the faucet in his bathroom and didn't get it turned off. We're guessing that Kev must have restarted the pump when he flipped the breakers and it just took a while for the water to fill the pressure tank and then come inside the house.

So, we cleaned up the mess, put fans out to dry out the carpet and the garage, and went to bed.

All was normal again until...Sunday at lunch time. I was fixing lunch, went to turn on the water...

And nothing.

No water again. And, of course, it was 106...again.

I'd done 2 loads of laundry and had Kat's clothes in the washer. I immediately shut off the washer, and we waited, hoping it would "fix itself" like it did Friday night.

By 4:30, Kat had given up on waiting. So we loaded up her laundry and drove to my Mom's to use her washer. While there, Dad gave me the name of a Well Guy he really likes. Dad even thought he'd come on a Sunday--when most Well guys won't. I Kev with the number.

In the meantime, Dad decided he'd call the Well guy himself. But, fortunately, Kev had just called him. (And of course the well guy told Dad, "Hell NO!" he wouldn't come see us if we were related to him. All good natured teasing...)

Kat and I finished up her laundry and headed home. By this time, it was around 7. We pulled into our house at 8.

Kev told me that the Well Guy had just left and that he'd have to come back tomorrow because he'd have to check out our pump.

Ugg. A new pump would be $1500 or more. But...we need water. So, I asked Kev if he looked at the well and if he could tell how much water was in there, or if it was dry. Kev looked at me and just walked over to the sink and turned it on.

WATER! We had water!

And then he laughed--at me--cause once again...he was a BIG FAT LIAR.

The Well Guy had fixed it. Our pressure regulator was fried. Deader than dead. It was an electrical issue--not a water issue.

And MY idiot husband led me on, let me worry about having to pay a $1500 to $3000 bill. Let me worry about not having water. Let me worry about how I was going to water my chickens. Letting me worry knowing that it was fixed.


But, once his joke was over and done...Kev said that the Well Guytold him that he's replaced over 300 regulators this summer. We're all putting demands on our wells that they aren't used to having, and aren't set up to handle. We also learned that several families have had to dig new wells, or deeper wells because theirs have gone dry. This drought is serious folks. It's very serious.

We avoided a major personal disaster this time, but I still can't help but worry about the availability of water now and in the future.

1 comment:

Dirt Road Quilter said...

I agree with you. It's scary to think that we may soon run out of water. I think most people really take it for granted. As a society, we're just wasteful. We've been without water for pretty long periods of time. Thankfully, back then, we had a creek running in frot of the house so we could ahul water in buckets. Still, not convenient, but we were so thankful. Glad your recent situation was easily fixed, but I still think DH needs a good pop with the dish towel...just for fun.