Jeyachandran Family

Rain in the desert

09 Apr 2012

It never rains here in Arequipa. We're living in a desert. Well, that's true except in the wet season - late December, January, February and a little in March.

We've just been through the most severe wet season in 30 years. This meant lots of broken pipes, flooding in the streets and frequent water cuts.

Storing water

Christine with the many containers we use to store water

We had one really difficult day without water. I made the assumption that if the water stopped, we still had 120 litters of water in the hot water system. I was wrong! When the water stopped, so did the hot water. Someone explained that when the water is cut, there is no pressure to drive the water through the hot water system. It was a frustrating day not being able to flush toilets or wash dishes and fortunately it only lasted a day.

I went out and bought several large containers to hold our water backup. So when the later water cuts came we were fine.

Christine is under our make-shift rain water catcher. We purchased this to protect the washing machine from the sun but accidentally discovered that in heavy rain the water funnels to one point where we can catch it in a barrel. It's ironic that the water cuts are during times of heavy rain so it's great to be able to catch the precious rain water.

All the containers you can see (above) were used for storing (a ridiculous amount of) drinking water.

Water purification technology has come a long way. Previously missionaries had to import an expensive water filtration systems from Europe. The local people boil their water, which in the long run is also expensive. Now it's easy to purchase here these inexpensive two phase filter system. The first (black) unit is a paper filter that removes all the particles. The second (white) unit is a carbon filter that kills the bacteria.

We've learnt a few simple lessons that have made life so much easier. I think that both in Australia and here in Peru we are very aware of how precious water is.