Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Living in Peru #27: Water #3

As you will recall, because of the very intermittent water supply, everyone has a storage tank.  Most people use their heads and use gravity, and put the tanks on top of their dwellings.
However, for aesthetic reasons, ours was put under the driveway.
OK, so you also remember that the top of the BIG sub-driveway water tank had collapsed inward, necessitating repairs.
Well, as dirt and water are prone to do, they returned, finally covering the cap of the tank, causing contamination of the water inside.  A permanent solution was needed!
That meant a concrete cistern, a major project including the removal of the collapsed tank and building a strong concrete box to store water (see diagram below).
When asked about timing, we reminded folks that we had missionaries leaving (sort of) and arriving the next week, with a lot of people coming and going and staying at the mission home.
"No problema!  The work will be done this week, in five days at the most."  Yeah, OK...
First, the big blue tank had to be removed, which meant draining it, loosing it from the surrounding dirt, and finally lifting it out, no mean task.  This required a half-dozen people, ropes, cables, poles, and everyone yelling in Spanish, telling each other how it should be done.
The next task was draining the resulting huge hole, and putting in a foundation for the future cistern.
The cistern itself then had to be constructed, strong enough to keep the earth out and the water in.
Once the basic box was built, the inner walls had to be given another coat of good cement,
including the floor.  This involved a swing-like contraption and a lot of good laughter.
The rebar for the top was then laced,
and the top itself poured.
The driveway pavers were replaced
and the final plumbing installed from within.
The guys really did a nice job, and worked long hours.  Speaking of which, the project in the end took three full weeks, including Saturdays to complete.
The water tasted a little like concrete for the first few days, but then settled down to the normal Huancayo-type water flavor.
Meanwhile, we finally disconnected the garden hose through which the house was being intermittently supplied by the intermittent city supply.
We hope that your cistern challenges are solved more expeditiously.
Dave & Paula

3 comments:

Patti said...

Three weeks drinking from a garden hose, with missionaries coming and going. I can't even imagine!

Classifieds said...
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Rosemary Bailey said...

Water tanks are a relief. They can also be a challenge to maintain at times. There's the accumulation of dirt on their caps like you said, which can lead to all sorts of ailments when left unabated. There's also the bulk and weight of the water tanks. It was a great idea to put these tanks in a box, so they will be more stable and secure. Cheers!

Rosemary Bailey @ Wabi Iron & Steel Corp.