Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Precious Water!

I tug on my yellow rubber gloves and then make my way to the corner of our house. I reach up to a platform above my head and pull my body up with my left hand. I then feel for a ledge with my right foot. Ahh.. there it is, I take a moment to regain my balance and then pull myself up higher. The next step is a little easier since I can climb up the metal frame enclosing a window to reach the first level of our roof. Seconds later I'm all the way up. Good, I made it. I survey the roof for a moment, and then gingerly make my way to the drain. It's plugged with a thick mass of leaves and with my gloved hand I carefully clear it out.

There is at least three inches of water on this flat part of our roof and I am now standing in it. It's 3:00 in the afternoon and the sun has beaten down on it all day, so it feels like I am standing in hot tub water. We finally had a big rain storm last night and now I'm in the process of conserving all the water that is left on our roof. It has hardly rained in the last six weeks so our reservoir is getting low. Although the roof water looks dirty and muddy it is precious to us since we rely completely on rain to supply our home with water.

We use it to wash dishes, mop floors, water plants, shower (or in Jayden's case bathe in), and for laundry. The only things we don't use it for is drinking water.
All th rain water is collected in the gutters on our roof and then sent to this one single drain.

If the drain gets clogged, which happens every time, water starts to build up on the roof and then spills over the sides. In rainy season it doesn't matter as much, since it rains almost every night, but in the dry season with our water reservoir running low we can't afford to let that happen. Once the water goes down the drain it enters a big pipe and ends up in a large water reservoir located underneath our back patio.

There it sits until city power comes on. Once city power comes on, our pump turns on and pumps some of the water back onto the roof where it sits in a 200 Gallon Tuff Tank. During the day when we don't have city power the water that comes out of our taps is powered only by gravity. We have to conserve it, since if the Tuff tank runs dry during the day, it won't be filled again until city power comes on. As I clear out all the gutters, I decide that in the next rain storm I'm going to crouch under the overhang and keep clearing the drain, this way we can maximize the amount of water we save.

What a different way of life.


  1. Glad to hear that you got some rain!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So how much rain did you get? Can you finally have a nice bubble bath with cold water????
    Love mum

  2. Hello Will and Jay, what an encouragement to read your updates, I am so excited to finalize the Support Raising soon, and than head out next month!!
    Praying for you!

  3. What a system! How big is that tank under your back patio? And where do you get your drinking water from?
    Take care... love R, A, G, C.

  4. Hi Will,

    I'm babysitting your neices and nephews, so they want to write something to you, I showed the your blog w/ and pics of you guys.

    Steph H

    Hi Tante Willemin!

    How are you? My mom is going to have a baby soon! I'm really excited about it! Are you having fun there?

    Love Willemina and Johanna

  5. 1) Hey Mom! Yes we are very happy to be getting some rain finally! As for bubble bath.. no thanks.. The water is too yellow.. too cold.. and the drain in our bath tub doesn't work! But we've gotten used to the cold showers now and it feels good in the heat!
    2)Hi Lena. Hope the support keeps coming in! Wish you all the best as you continue to prepare to serve with MAF in Uganda.
    3) Hi R, A G, C,! How are you doing? We are doing fine. The way we get water sure is quite a system! Jason estimates that the tank under are back patio allows about 18,000 gallons of water. We buy are drinking water at the grocery store. It comes in 5 Gallon Culligan Bottles and costs us $1.25 US per bottle.
    4)Hey Steph! Cool that you babysat my nieces and nephews and thanks for showing them the pictures. It was very cute to see their little note on the blog!
    5) Hey girls! I bet you are very excited that your mom is going to have a baby! I'm very happy for you too! and yes, we are having fun here!

  6. Hi Will;

    Love your stories!

    I'm glad it's not me out there, that sounds waaayyyyyyy to complicated for me. Good for you for clambering up on the roof to unclog the drain! Love your land rover story, next time you're in Chilliwack you can go 4X4ring!
    Take care, love Henry and Jenny.