Yay Water!

There is nothing like doing without to make you appreciate something.

People in Panama don’t always have water. The government is addressing the problem and has allocated money to build and upgrade systems. But right now, it is summer when it doesn’t rain. There is building going on everywhere in the David area, but I don’t think they have thought about the increasing demands on the infrastructure.

No water has been a common problem even before I moved here, especially in the dry summer. My first day in the house, I went to refill my water bottle and nothing came out of the tap. The neighbors were totally unconcerned. I quickly learned to have water supplies on hand.

It hasn’t been too bad, really. I think only once, maybe twice in our 5+ years here has the water been off for more than 24 hours, and then they sent water trucks around to refill any container you gave them. Yesterday it slowed to a trickle and then went off. It was on last night but really late, past midnight and I didn’t feel like washing dishes, hoping there would be water in the morning. There wasn’t.

We have plenty of water on hand for these times but it’s inconvient to wash dishes and bathe with gallon jugs. It can be done though, and it makes me think of all the people in the world who never have running water, who have to carry it in from somewhere, and who may not have access to any clean water at all.

Tonight we were out playing music and didn’t get home until almost midnight and there was water! Yay! Not much, but enough to shower. It must have just come on and was refilling the lines and neighborhood water tanks because the pressure has improved since then.  I showered, washed my hair, cleaned the bathroom and kitchen, refilled all containers, and now there is a load of laundry in progress.  Yes, I know it’s 1:15 AM, but I’m not going to count on having water tomorrow.

If anything goes out, I would rather it be water. We rarely have trouble with electricity and internet for which I’m thankful. And, I’m glad to be in David. I hear talk from Boquete people about water being out for days, electricity also going out, and a lot of frustration.

Panama is a lesson in not taking things for granted. Thank you for the water. Thank you for the clean water right in the house… most of the time. And if we have no water, there are three big supermarkets just minutes away and a river behind the house.

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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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10 Responses to Yay Water!

  1. jim and nena says:

    “It’s quarter to three, there’s no one in the place except you and me”
    Sorry, Kris, your post triggered an old song memory! haha
    Yep, coming from a place that has power and water without question to a place where the old folks remember carrying water is a big adjustment. Boquete went from a rural farming village to a “retirement” community in 20 years and very little was done to handle the load on the infrastructure. The original residents learned to appreciate having water and power most of the time but they can just as quickly revert to coping as they did in the past.
    David is having its own growing pains but with a much larger population the impacts are less. The main issue I have noticed over the years is the traffic! Lord, where did all those cars come from? Years ago, we rented a car in Panama City and drove to Cerro Punto and everywhere in between to visit relatives. Nowadays, we do buses and taxis and only sometimes rent a car for trips up the hill. It is just too much hassle to park practically anywhere. Progress, I think they call it?

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    • Boquete has been working on the water situation, but that’s has involved digging up roads and a new set of frustrations. But, I still see posts from whole areas without water.
      As for the David traffic, besides population growth I see the middle class thriving. My neighbors used to have two older cars. Now they have 5 SUV’s for the four adults. Another neighbor had a son on a bike, and now there are two cars parked at her house.

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  2. Judy Trites says:

    Glad the water is running again Kris. You could come to Bastimentos where it has been raining on and off for 5 days. Looks like some sun is peaking through today. Yahhh. Was hoping to catch one of your jams on the weekend in Boquete but we had to leave for Bocas on Wedensday. Hope to catch you guys in Boquete on the way back.. Judy and Tim

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    • I hear the weather is entirely different over there and it can, and will rain at any time. It’s too bad you can’t send it over here when you’ve had enough. Maybe we’ll see you later!

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  3. Anonymous says:

    We finally have most of the time water and we have some electric outages in Pedasi, but we too have learned to have some on hand. The really difficult one is when the ATM’s do not give you your money, but deduct it from your bank. Luckily we have Schwab and they quickly put the money back in our account and then fight with the ATM company for the money. That being said, it is still significantly better than living in California, as it has become a nightmare of high prices and taxes.

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    • I’ve heard about electricity issues in Pedasi for a while. I remember one family was using $300-400/month and complaining, apparently totally unaware that their heavy use was causing the problem.
      I’ve also heard about the ATM problem you mentioned. Not having access to your money is definitely scary. I bank with Schwab too and really appreciate their excellent customer service.
      California, yes. My daughter lives in Santa Rosa. Even many working people can’t afford the cost of living. You definitely have to be wealthy to retire there.

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  4. Jude says:

    Glad the water is running again Kris. You could come to Bastimentos where it has been raining on and off for 5 days. Looks like some sun is peaking through today. Yahhh. Was hoping to catch one of your jams on the weekend in Boquete but we had to leave for Bocas on Wedensday. Hope to catch you guys in Boquete on the way back.. Judy and Tim

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    • For some reason this got sent to the que of first time commenters where I have to approve a comment before it goes through. Since you were here yesterday that shouldn’t be. Oh well. I’d still take some of your rain though! The water continues to be off every day but comes back in the evening. Maybe they are working on something during the day.

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  5. Felipe says:

    You have the most excellent attitude! You’re obviously made to live there. I’ve lived without running water (mountain cabin) part of my life, and running water is a wonderful luxury.
    I must say one of the things I loved about our trip to Panama was drinking water from the tap. Mexico, Belize – not something you can count on doing. Having it to the house is great, but good treatment methods is a total plus to Panama.
    As is being surrounded by people who don’t get upset when there’s an interruption. Nice post!

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    • Thanks 🙂 I think in the US we take so much for granted. There are people in the world who don’t have any access to clean water. Yes we are fortunate to have good water most of the time, and especially to live with these laid back people who rarely get upset about anything. That is something the US could use more of.

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