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NO WATER …again

On the roof water storage

The house we live in here is build right onto rocks.  (our home is built on a rock mass)  🙂  Houses have many elevations to compensate for the steep grade of the mountain and also to accomodate the water supply and sewer system of the neighborhood.  We are learning how these work and since there are no real rules for anything we can only learn what is happening right here in this home as we go along.

And the learning can come at inconvenient times.

For instance, this morning woke up to NO WATER.

Mikee is awesome at fixing whatever the problem is.  Usually.  😉

First, I should say that the pump that brings water from under the terrace up to the roof water supply ran all night last night.  We kind of heard it but it sits in your subconscious in the “not concerned” corner.  It did start to cause concern in the middle of the night as we realized the gardener possibly left the water running.

“I hope we aren’t out of water in the morning,” were Mikee’s words.  Honestly, at 3 o’clock in the morning, it is not wise to venture outside unless you are armed with a black light flashlight.

Fast forward to morning.  Everyone in the house is starting to get moving and bathrooms are being used and coffee pot turned on.  And… no water.

No water.

Mikee goes up to the roof and the tinaco is COMPLETELY EMPTY!

Mikee goes down and checks on the terrace and the alhibe is COMPLETELY EMPTY!

Completely e.m.p.t.y.

Here is how water works here in Mexcio.  And just like everything else here, it is difficult to get a clear explanation of how something works, but this is what we have so far.

For many newcomers, the water distribution systems here in Mexico are different from water supply they are used to in the rest of North America.

There are assigned days of the week that your home (and your entire street) will have water pumped into your underground water tank (aljibe).  That water then gets pumped up to the roof (tinaco) into that black tank you see in the top picture and this is where your water comes from.  Being on the roof is what gives good water pressure.  Different parts of the distribution system are provided water by opening and closing the various valves located in the streets, allowing the water to flow to different areas of the distribution system. Typically, these well pumps will operate for a set amount of time during the day, depending on the condition of the individual wells and their capacity to allow water to be pumped.  Most people do not usually run out.  Our water comes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from around 2:30 to 4:30.  Occasionally someone may use up their water -their gardener overwaters or they have a leak in the house.

Back to our story.

A couple questions come to mind… did the gardener leaving the water on (because, yes, it was left on and we closed the faucet this morning on our inspection of water loss) be enough to completely empty both the underground water tank (aljibe) and the one up on the roof (tinaco)?


That is a huge amount of water to have leaked out.

Wouldn’t there be puddles or streams of water running out of the yard?

Another question… could the tank have a leak or the pump not be working?  And, why did the house next door to us (which no one lives in and no one pays a water bill for) have water?  (And who is the guy in a hood that mysteriously showed up today to water the yard?  I feel like Nancy Drew)  🙂

Mikee tried to get the pump to turn off.  The circuit breakers in the house don’t work for it and we can’t find the power supply.  Plus, now we are concerned that the pump (which is not pumping water at this point) will break.

The crazy pump. How do we get it turned off?

Water is under this patio. The pump you see pulls water up to tank on roof behind wall.

They sure are cute but not much help. 😉

Who do we call when we can’t figure out what to do next?

The Raquet Club Guru -our buddy Chad.

Mikee and Chad managed to at least get the pump turned off.  WHEW!

Next they tried to figure out what caused the problem.  NO IDEA.

So next they try to figure how to fix the problem.  HMMM…

How about hooking one end of the garden hose to the output on the pump and sending the other end up to the roof to prime the pump?  Good idea.  Except the pump has pulled just air for so long it won’t get a seal.  So we borrow a neighbor’s hose and water and drop a roll of twine from the roof so we can pull the hose already up to the roof.  Success!  Finally something that worked -several hours of work.  (Hey, who has time for a real job?  Mikee has been working full time just fixin’ stuff)

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The tank on the roof.

Might as well get a picture since I'm up on the roof.

Hooray! Water is filling up the underground tank.

The water that comes into the underground tank is fed by thermal springs.  It’s hot.  You can sort of see the steam coming out.

It’s an interesting concept to try and fix something when you don’t know what the problem is in the first place.  But, it’s what you do.  Every day we keep making progress.

…hopefully with water.

While the boys were trying to fix this problem, what did the the “girl team” do?  How about if India tells you that story?

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Ben February 10, 2011, 8:21 am

    HAHAHAHAH that was great. Get all the kinks worked out before we come, I do want to be able to take a shower.:)

    • admin February 10, 2011, 8:50 am

      But Ben, don’t you want the true Mexican experience? JK. When you come we will have everything up to 5 star standards.

  • DAD February 10, 2011, 9:45 am


    • admin February 10, 2011, 10:07 am

      We did not get that part of the mystery solved, Dad. Guess we’ll worry about that “manana”.

  • Jim February 10, 2011, 10:28 am

    Look at it this way: I am sure there are people ‘back home’ who are fixing their water because their pipe froze and then burst. At least Mike gets to fix his water issues half naked…ok maybe not half…65%

    • admin February 10, 2011, 2:18 pm

      woohoo. who do you think broke the pump. 😉

  • Stephanie February 10, 2011, 10:25 pm

    Hakuna Matata??????????

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