Water, or no water, or using what comes

It’s summer here, a time when water shortages are common. This summer has been much better than last and we have only had a few times without water for part of the day.

Tuesday was one of those dry days, and then it went into Wednesday. No one in the neighborhood knew what was going on. People in Boquete has been told there was no river rafting because of Carnival. The water people figured the stores were closed, everyone was at Carnival and the demand for electricity would be low, so they slowed down the flow through the hydroelectric plant which in turn decreased the flow into the river used for rafting. Since we get our water from the river, is this why we also didn’t have water?

Many things are a mystery in Panama. But, I also notice that these things are taken in stride with little complaining. People know it happens and have water set aside, and just patiently use the stored water as needed. I have found that it’s surprisingly easy to get by, and I’d much prefer problems with water than with electricity.

By Thursday afternoon though I was feeling the need for a shower about the time I heard thunder in the distance. Rainwater! Yes!

RainShower3514

It’s actually pretty fun bathing in the rainwater that runs off the roof, and I felt good after a nice shower and shampoo. And, wouldn’t you know, the water came back on in the house not long after. 😀

I’m also not sure what is going on with the rains. We had a couple downpours before this, and it rained some again last night. I thought it might rain this afternoon too but so far it’s just dark clouds. Some people think summer is ending and the rains are coming back, and other say it’s just something odd and the real rains don’t come back until April. Either way it’s nice to have everything turning green again.

It’s been an interesting week, especially the great day I spent with fellow bloggers in Boquete. I have lots of photos to sort through but I’ll get a post about that out soon.

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About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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19 Responses to Water, or no water, or using what comes

  1. Kongo says:

    Hard to imagine a water shortage in Panama. Every time I was there it was just pouring all the time.

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  2. oldsalt1942 says:

    Oddly enough I had good water pressure all of Tuesday. I figured it was because all of the people at IDAAN (the water company) were out celebrating Carnival and there was no one around to shut it off as usually happens daily here.

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    • They shut it off? Why? To save water? If it’s like here nobody knows. I’m not sure what goes on here. Usually we notice low water pressure, and then it gets less and less until there is none at all. When we notice it decreasing we run around and wash everything, check stored water, and make sure everything is done that needs water.

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  3. allison says:

    And here, we keep getting snow, ice, wintry mix. It should be in the fifties, and it won’t creep out of the thirties. Weather is odd all over, huh?

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    • It seems like an endless and miserable winter in so much of the US. No thanks. I’ll take our insignificant issues over that weather any day. Just think though, it should be your LAST winter!

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  4. Rainwater showers are glorious! They always make my skin feel so soft. But, I’m glad your water came back on. Last year at this time, we had a huge attack of chayules ( tiny aquatic mites). Our water was off for 5 days and the lake was too low to get a bucket of water to flush the toilet. It was horrible. We hired a guy to build us a water tower the next week. Now, even if we lose electricity, we always have running water because it’s gravity fed into the house. You are getting rain??? You’re so lucky. Maybe we need to make a trip your way. It’s awfully hot and dry here now. 🙂

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    • Ugh, that does sound horrible! We’re next to a river but it’s enough of a climb down there I wouldn’t want to be hauling water. The uncertainty last year was enough to make me stockpile water and we could probably get by for 5 days if we’re careful. A lot of people here have water tanks, but I wonder if you don’t realize the water is off and you keep on using water like all is well, would you be in for a surprise at some point?
      Yes, we’re getting rain but I don’t think we are supposed to until April. Last year it was May when they finally returned, and the country was on power conservation measures because the rivers were getting too low for hydroelectric.

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      • Kris, we wondered the same thing about using up all of our tank water and not knowing. So far, so good. When we first installed our tank on a tall tower, it wouldn’t fill up because there wasn’t enough water pressure from the city. We are at the end of the water line. But, we discovered that at night, the water pressure is strong, so the tank fills up. This is the worst time of the year. UGH!

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        • Ahh, that sounds good. You have better pressure from the tank in the daytime than you would have from the city. Hopefully it won’t be long before the rains return to your area too.

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  5. Gary W. Boyd says:

    Hi Kris, I don’t know if you are familiar with camp showers, plastic bags with shower heads attached? They are great. Fill them up and leave them out in the sun for a short time, careful the water can get really hot. Hang them up outside (or in your shower) and there you have a hot shower when the water is not running.

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    • I have heard of them but never used them. It’s warm enough here that showering with unheated water isn’t a problem, but that might be easier than pouring water on each other like we usually do (though probably less fun!)

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    • oldsalt1942 says:

      I have one of those. Bought it years ago when Hurricane Wilma swept across south Florida leaving us without electricity for nearly two weeks and, of course, no hot water for showers. Works well though lacking in pressure. I brought it down here with me and use it from time to time, but the tap water isn’t THAT cold and lots of times with the heat of the day you’d probably opt for a cold, or at least tepid shower anyway. In the house I’m living in now, there’s only ONE knob to turn and since there’s no hot water heater at the house guess what you get?

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  6. Robert & Helen says:

    Same problems on our island St. Lucia. people who can afford it have 1 or two plastic 450 gallon tanks with a 1/2 HP pump. Almost all houses have gutters and rainwater collection into
    one of the tanks or just a large old plastic barrel.

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    • We also collect rainwater but it hasn’t rained that much. I use what we get for the plants and when it rains more and the roof is cleaner I’ll bring some in the house too. My husband talks about getting a tank, but things seem to have improved in our area and they have also installed meters. When you have to pay more for using more, people tend to be more careful.

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  7. 4sarge says:

    Even in the States I attempt to conserve & store rain water during the early Summer and into the late Fall. We use this water for livestock, vegetable and flower irrigation as and when needed. Last Spring, Summer were extremely wet and then we had about 55″s of additional snow this winter. I do the cheap, barn roof rain water run off into plastic barrels. It could be filtered and used for drinking water if the need ever arose. We have a deep well 260′ but being on REMC and new restrictions to Power Plants, electricity prices have spiked. I keep using less KW’s but the bill remains the same or slightly higher. This is coal country so our house water is softened, chlorinated and drinking water RO’d. There are many sophisticated rain gutter water retention systems on the market. A neighbor does not have a well, she uses a Culligan pond water filter system to convert pond water into usable potable water. but since this is the Mid West only uses it during non freezing months.

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    • In Florida water was expensive so we has two big 55 gallon drums for rainwater collected from the downspouts. Here water is used like it will never run out, but with our new water meters that should change. A bit of conservation, and the upgrades to the system going on all over the country should help.

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      • 4sarge says:

        Once the meters are installed be vigilant for sticky toilet valves or piping leaks from the meter to the house. It doesn’t take long for a leak (metered) to run up a bill.

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        • Oh yes, very true! A small drip over time adds up to a lot. Our water is included in our rent, but it’s such an ingrained habit to be careful with water that we do it anyway. And with the $7/mo water bill for this house, overage shouldn’t be anything like it was in the US. But there’s no reason to use more than you need of anything, IMO.

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