OFF-THE-GRID LIVIN’ PART 7: DROUT

We were living in Los Angeles for the first part of this most recent California drout. We like many others considered ourselves responsible citizens, with green concerns like many others. So when the city signs, and the utility services sent out their notices to cut back on water usage we did of course comply. We paid more attention to not letting faucets run, shorter showers, took bigger gaps between car washes, and “tisk-tisked” when we saw unnecessary run off in the gutters from over watering. But never once did we ever expect to turn on the faucet and NOT have water come out. After all water was a right.

I realized water was not a right my first week here. It was Sunday, we were headed to church and not five minutes from climbing in the car I heard my wife say “Love… There is no water”

“what?”

“Love… There is no water.”

You see, we now live on a well. Now by a well I don’t mean a stone lined trench covered by a quaint wood roof a bucket hanging on rope complete with clinging roses and sparrows singing “Some day my prince will come”. By a well, I mean a hole. This hole is drilled 500 feet deep and about 8″ wide. One dosnt hit water till 300 feet down. It is sealed by a electric pump which pulls the water up 300 feet then pushes it into a 2000 gallon holding tank, which is small compared to some of our neighbors.  1000 gallons of that water is for our use. The other 1000 gallons is for the fire department just in case they might ever need to blow out a fire on my property. If the fire requires more than 1000 gallons, then it is time to grab the marshmallows and skewers and make the most of the opportunity.

This well is a straw sticking into an underground river. About 10 miles from us this river flows into an underground lake. We are lucky enough to be the first straw in this river.  The straw is about 2″ wide sticking into an 8″ hole. And it is sucking water out through rock sand and dirt. If it sucks faster than the land can pour it back into the hole then we hit bottom. Typically I will then need to give the well  at least a week to refill itself. If I keep running the well to the bottom, eventually the sides of the well will get clogged with silt… And it will never refill.

Frankly, the land dosn’t care whether or not I get a shower. It has bigger concerns. There is no bill to pay here, nor a service to negotiate. If I suck to much water out of the ground. Then the ground will be done with me and I will be the proud owner of a house without water utilities.

“Love… There is no water”

“Excuse me Babe’, I have to go outside and make a heart felt apology to the hole in our front yard.”