Water Problems…


We often hear of water problems that some areas in Boquete experience, especially during the dry season. But we’ve never really been affected by any lack of water in any of the places we’ve lived so far. Until now. We live in an area called Jaramillo Centro and although we have heard of some brief water outages it really never sounded as though the water problems were especially bad, so I never really thought much about it. Again, until now. We have an Aqueduct that provides water to all the homes up here in Jaramillo Centro. Its up to each property owner to maintain the pipes that supply water to their homes. Some people have large water storage tanks and some just use what water comes directly to their house without bothering to store any. I can not say that I know all the in’s and out’s of how all this water stuff works, I have a very limited amount of knowledge of what we have set up for our property and what our neighbors and good friends right next door have at their house. We have built a water room on one end of Scott’s workshop. In this water room we have four huge storage tanks. This is also where we have our filtration and UV light to create potable water for drinking and so forth. We have planned to collect rain water from our gutters and from our showers and sinks to use for agricultural water, things like watering plants. The agricultural water will fill one of the huge tanks and we have a smaller tank to provide the water that will get pumped down to the casita. At the moment, since its the dry season, we have not yet gotten to collect any rainwater and only have one big tank filled from the aqueduct that we are using for the casita.

This has all been working pretty good so far but that could change very soon. We’ve been included in a stream of emails from different nearby neighbors informing everyone in our neighborhood that the water supply has been gone for about 7 days now. Everyone is kinda scurrying to figure out a solution and its become quite an emergency issue. Yikes. So, because we haven’t been using too much water, I’ve been showering elsewhere because of the lack of hot water, and our washer dryer doesn’t work yet either, (the dryer also needs gas), we haven’t really felt the water outage yet. But the big problem is that we are just beginning to mix all the cement for our new foundation and that will take a large amount of water! Yikes! We could very well find ourselves with no more water in our storage tanks very soon. And the rainy season doesn’t really start until mid to late May. Ugh! We’ve got quite awhile yet until the water supply to our aqueduct is replenished. From what I understand, there is another nearby stream that we may be able to get more water from and neighbors are calling for aide in the form of volunteering workers to help with moving pipes to this other location and or donating what money it may cost for this endeavor. We will of course be glad to send a couple of our guys to wherever they need to go to help with this possible solution. But we are of the belief that this is just a temporary fix and we hope to find a better way to be more prepared for this yearly eventuality. I mean, the rain stops every year and water goes away… Of course being conscientious about conservation is on the top of our list of things to do to help with this problem.

So what do you think my husband was up to last night? Researching online, how to drill your own fresh water well! Yep! You see where this is going? A-huh… he would like to see if we can possibly find a different source of water for agricultural use so we don’t have to use the water for the house to do things like mix cement during the dry season. There’s plenty of water during the rainy season and we will go forward with our water collection plan that we already have in place, but this problem of no water during the dry season will never go away. Planning for this time of the year is the smart thing to do. According to what he learned so far, drilling your own well can be pretty simple. But I’m sure we will find out that there’s a lot we don’t know about it and there will likely be some interesting trial and errors in our search for water on our land. But you know Scott, he loves a challenge! I just wish we could actually finish one project before being faced with a new one!! Ugh!! I’m not sure when he plans to start trying out this new plan, but I will not be surprised if he starts it soon. We will be very unhappy, like many of our neighbors already are, if we run out of water.

Being responsible for figuring out your own water source is just one small thing that comes with deciding to live in a place like this. There is no water company to depend upon to magically send clean water to your house. And no one is fighting on your behalf to make sure water supplies are kept up to prevent a complete outage. But we don’t see this reality as a bad thing, on the contrary. We really like the idea that our existence here is all up to us. We take full responsibility for providing ourselves with what we need to live our lives the way we want to live it. And for finding different alternatives when certain things just aren’t readily available. Its very interesting to learn what you can live without and to feel the sense of accomplishment that comes with not being so dependent on an infrastructure that is provided to you on a silver platter. I know I’ve come to have a much different view of all the little things that I never even thought about, like where my water was coming from and how it would get cleaned to be drinkable. How I would get electricity to my house, heck we even had to learn about putting in a septic system. We never thought about where our waste was going when we lived in Los Altos. You just flushed the toilet and that was it!

Many of my friends may be reading this and thinking that it all sounds so hard and complicated and the thought of dealing with all this just isn’t even remotely appealing. And that’s why you are living where you are living and I’m living here, telling you my story. Hah! We moved to Panama to experience a different way of living our life. Even though , like you, we loved our lives in Los Altos, we were ready for a big change. We dove into this adventure knowing that we were in for a total and complete learning experience. Staying where we were was only providing the same ol’ same ol’ for us and boy oh boy have we gotten what we hoped for! Learning a new language, making tons of new friends, building a house in Central America where construction is a whole different ballgame than building in California, adapting to a totally different culture, figuring out how to do an unending amount of new and different things…..all of this and so much more is the payoff we’re getting for diving into this adventure! Yeah, I may not be able to shower in my house at the moment, and I’m gonna have to schlep about 8 loads of laundry into town today to have it washed, and Scott has to get up every morning to go start up the generator for our power in the house, I’m still BBQing pancakes for breakfast and half the time I have no clue what is being said to me when I’m trying to communicate with people in Spanish, But, Poco A Poco this place is becoming more and more my home. I don’t miss my former life when I had everything I needed right at my fingertips, I surely don’t miss the cost of living that was a constant blow to my peace of mind. I must say the only thing I dearly miss is my family and my friends , and I miss them every single day! If I’m totally honest I’ll tell you that at this very moment I really do miss HOT WATER!!! Hah! But, boy will I appreciate that darn hot water when I finally have it, I’ll be appreciating it like I have never appreciated it in my life!! This Adventure is just never ending!!!


3 responses »

  1. I love your adventurous spirit, Holly! I dislike when people relocate to another country and want that country to be like where they left. It is all in the experiences and learning to adapt.Great post!

  2. I picture you and Scott as the pioneers who traveled across the great plains back in the day! I really admire what you are doing and know how much you love it in Panama. It was a pleasure getting to know you better and look forward to seeing your beautiful new home as you build it.

  3. Do they have water diviners there (not Russel Crowe) they do work. My Uncle is one and excellent. The water he found on Mums property was analysed by the university as the best and safest even has a little spritz.

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