Weekly photo challenge: Foreign (1) fresh water

By: roughseasinthemed

Oct 29 2012

Tags: , , , ,

Category: Camping, Gibraltar, Photography


Focal Length:5.8mm
Shutter:1/0 sec

Waking up in the early hours of Sunday morning to the sound of running water is not a good thing.

Especially when you are in a block of 15 flats, half of whom (at least) don’t seem to have a brain between them when it comes to communal living.

Partner crept out of bed and stealthily prowled around the block looking for tell-tale signs of water leaking from under an absentee resident’s door. Nothing.

He went down to the patio where there are salt and potable water taps. Nothing there either. Came back to bed and we drifted back to sleep with the sound of running water. A bit like camping next to a stream.

In the morning it all became clear. It was coming from underneath the block and gallons of water were gushing down the street. Probably hundreds of gallons of fresh, ie desalinated drinking water, were merrily running rampant and finding their way down to Main Street.

At 6am I rang to report a leak. Bet I was popular. Once I had done that we realised that the water would at some point be cut off, so we dashed around filling every possible container, and did the washing up.

Meanwhile the rest of the block was happily slumbering on. After all the clocks had gone back, so an extra hour in bed for them. I could have done with that too.

AquaGib turned up just before nine and predictably turned off the water, dug a hole and stood looking at it.

They couldn’t get to the source of the problem, which, equally predictably, was the responsibility of the block and not theirs. They would however install a standpipe. It turned out to be a huge water bowser.

Now I have been rough camping many a time, but actually living in a flat, in a city, and getting water out of a bowser is a totally new experience. Especially standing in front of the communal rubbish bins to do it, which, interestingly, have now been moved away from the tap at the rear of the bowser.

In all senses of the word, for me, this is foreign. I’m living in a foreign country and we just don’t have running water until this is repaired – and it can’t be done immediately.

After all, what’s the rush? We’ve got fresh water outside. Some people in other foreign countries haven’t a hope in hell of fresh drinking water on their doorstep.


10 comments on “Weekly photo challenge: Foreign (1) fresh water”

  1. What a post – brilliant colour, serious problem, a concern… Your water has been shut off. In eastern North America there is too much water flooding the streets. As foreign as this is, stories about water, or lack of it, seem to be making the news in many places!
    And as banal as it sounds, DT came through with shining colours here! But that aside, I hope this is repaired soon!


  2. Oops! Smart phone it is not. Feel free to delete one of the comments above 🙂


    • Done 😉 Yes, DT was clearly enamoured with the blue of the bowser.

      It is a serious post on a number of fronts.
      1) Hundreds of gallons of fresh drinking water were running down the street. No-one was concerned about that, and no-one apart from me reported it. However they were all fast enough to ring up to report the water had been turned off.
      2) I can understand people who have paid their service charges wanting a decent service within the block, and I would agree with that. However, some of the block are in arrears by 18 months, ie three payments. Hence, the block finances are poor and I can’t just go ahead with an ’emergency’ call out. Nothing is ever as clear cut as it appears.
      3) There are no babies or small children in the block. There is a perfectly good supply of fresh water on our doorstep. If people don’t wish to use that, it is their choice. The only thing people basically can’t do is use a washing machine. They can wash, cook, drink, wash up, boil water in a kettle etc. They could wash clothes by hand if they chose too (I can’t I’m useless at that). I don’t think they would make very good campers. At least two of the residents couldn’t find the tap on the bowser. In fact they didn’t even know what to look for.

      I’m disappointed in the selfishness that would prefer to see water wasted (ie running down the street) so long as the comfort and convenience of their own lives is not disturbed. I also find it ironic that people are complaining about no immediate running water to their flat, when there are millions of people in the world who would welcome a bowser on their doorstep.


  3. Hope you get it sorted soon.
    Even with all the rain we’ve had here, I still hate to see water wasted when it comes bubbling up from underground leaks.


  4. I agree lack of water is foreign to many of us. Most of the world takes water for granted. It has the power to nurture and to destroy, and water is truly universal currency & topic of conversation – too much, too little 🙂 It seems you are far more resourceful than your neighbours but given you come from an enviroment where water is [more than] plentiful it’s not a special skill just commonsense.


    • I think ‘taking it for granted’ is so accurate – sadly. Those of us in developed countries, especially leading an urban or city life, just expect it to be on tap (haha!). In fact it has been the topic of conversation here for other reasons too – we’ve had a few days of heavy rain, which everyone moans about on the one hand, and then immediately adds that we need it for the ground because we’ve hardly had any so far this autumn – normally starts to rain from mid Sept onwards.


  5. And here I was thinking we were the only ones with these kinds of problems!
    The year we moved to Chennai, we had to buy water in tankers for almost nine months!! And we had moved from a plantation where we had access to our own fresh water springs! Careless neighbours are another story 🙂


  6. Oh, and wonderful shot 🙂


    • Thanks. We do get the water cut off in Spain too from time to time.

      At least we didn’t have to buy this, it came free. When we first came to Spain we wanted a place with its own well, there are quite a few still around, and the one we were going to buy had its own huge deposit and a stream at the bottom of the garden. Anyway it didn’t happen.


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