Utilities going out for hours at a time are a common occurrence here in Central America.
If the power goes out once a week for several hours, we simply accept it as a normal part of life. We have a gas stove, so even without power we are able to cook, and Keeley has plenty of candles to light the house.
About once a month the water stops working as well. Usually the government controlled water company notifies everyone in advance of the outage and we prepare by filling up an extra jug or two. But sometimes accidents happen….
This past Thursday there was a landslide that caused major damage to a very large main pipe that feeds water to a large part of San Jose. The water stayed off until Sunday evening with only short times of limited flow mixed in a couple of times.
Our supply of emergency water jugs, used mostly for filling up the toilet tanks in order to flush them, were depleted by Saturday evening. What we had thought was an exaggerated amount of jugs started to appear insufficient.
The McGyver in me started thinking about how to collect the copious amounts of water that fall from the sky just about every afternoon. I have included a picture of my rain collector that we used to gather some to-be-boiled drinking water.
Here are some things we take for granted:
- Turning the faucet handle and having water come out
- Flushing the toilet anytime we want
- Washing clothes at the touch of a button
- Taking hot (or cold) showers
- Having enough drinkable water to make some delicious Costa Rican coffee in the morning
Although inconvenient, we survived the Great Water Outage of 2008. Sure made us think about how much we appreciate water and how hard it must be to not have it on a consistent basis.