It’s pretty ironic that, with all the water falling on my head down here in the rainforest, I should be having problems with water. Potable water, that’s it. Yeah, I can use rainwater to wash my clothes, scrub the floor and water the few plants I keep inside the house, but I can’t drink it and use it for my personal hygiene needs . So I have to rely on what little chlorinated stuff the water utility company deigns to send me once every seven days or so.
I mean chlorinated “stuff” because I mean it. I don’t really know what it is.
They start pumping it every Saturday, but not a single drop will reach in my direction until the massive underground water pipes finally fills up and gains enough pressure to find a way into the little pipe that plugs me into the grid.
What comes out is a light-brown liquid that strongly resembles watered-down coffee, heavily laden with clay silt. To compensate this, the water utility company over does its part in adding some extra chlorine to this… concoction.
It’s pretty obvious I can’t use this, right at the moment, so I let it flow into my primary reservoir tank to let it rest there for five days. By then, most of the silt has settle down and it’s ready to be pumped into the main reservoir water tank, located on top of the house. And of course, I won’t drink of this… stuff… without boiling it first.
Even with this long rest period, some of the clay silt manages to get into my main deposit, occasionally clogging the water lines, which I have to flush every three months or so to prevent this stuff from solidifying inside the pipes.
Since my house is placed in the highest ground of the entire area, it will be the last house in the street to get its share. Funny thing is that, at least five of the 12 empty houses surrounding me also have water reservoir tanks and they fill up first. This is all wrong; the owners of these houses don’t live here; they don’t even check on their properties for six month periods or more… and they have running water before I do. Water that they don’t even settle the bills, which I religiously do.
I solved this by shutting their main valves; they will have their share as soon as I get mine first. Which brings a little point of contention. There’s an arrogant bastard here that, yes, he comes to check his house twice a month, has a massive water tank… but all he uses it for is to fill up an inflatable kiddie pool so he can bask in the sun. He has noticed that I regularly shut down his pipe, and has counterattacked by removing the small lever from the valve, leaving only the protruding stub, so I won’t be able to do that. Joke’s on him; I have a spare lever and I only have to carry it with me, place it on his valve, use it and then I’ll remove it and walk away. I live here; he doesn’t. I need the water for my hygiene needs; he only uses to have a weekend soak under the sun. That gives me a certain level of precedence above him.
And then, there’s the matter of the water bill. Yes, I pay it every month, but some computer error placed an overcharge into my monthly bill, and I had a little adventure a couple of weeks back, trying to settle it.
I had to walk into town (remember, five miles of bad roads and no public transportation) and go to the main water utility company office. It was closed. The next day, I had to go again. No go; the only person there that could reverse the charge was the lady supervisor… who only shows up on Thursdays. Then, next Thursday, I returned there. But I was smart. I went late, about ten-ish, as to allow this woman a really ample time to arrive to her workplace, have a cup of java and nest comfortably behind her desk. No luck. She only deigned to show up by eleven o’clock.
The woman frowned on my request, as if I were a simple mortal that should have been cowering in front of her goddess-like presence, which is the general fashion the local bureaucrats behave in down here. She only strolled her massive, gargantuan over the computer keyboard, typing in my account number, hit a couple keys and voila!… the problem was solved.
Until next month… when the overcharge to my bill will probably happen again.