Sunday, May 16, 2010
All of our water here on BAF is 'delivered' in one form or another. We have wells on base that produce non-potable water, but there is no water distribution system (pipes in the ground) and it's not suitable for drinking. Day and night, water trucks deliver water for showers, sinks, and toilets to individual water tanks; every building with plumbing has their own tank. As you can imagine, this is a big job. Several times each week, buildings will be out of water because the supply system cannot keep up with the demand (that's why we are only allowed to take 3 min. showers).
Likewise, all of the wastewater is collected into holding tanks and trucks have to pump out the sewage and haul it away. The gray water (shower & sinks) is dumped right into Coyote Creek which runs through our base. The black water (toilets & sewage) is transferred to large tanks then transferred again off the base. All of the water that we drink comes from water bottles. They're everywhere! You can't go very far without seeing a pile of them inside or outside of a building. They are free for the taking and greatly needed for survival.
In April alone we consumed over 11 million bottles of water here on BAF! That's almost 1.5 million gallons of water all individually packaged. Because of the lack of plumbing and the boutiful supply of water bottles, they end up getting used for much more than just drinking. Of course, we fill our coffe pots with them, but also, we keep them in the vehicles to top off the radiator and use them to fill the mop bucket when we clean the floors. Two bottles of water and a bottle of Windex makes winshield washer fluid, and if your hands are dirty, you pour some water from your bottle and rub them together (and dry them on your pants).
If nothing else (which it's not), this place is a constant reminder of how good we have it in out cities, states, and country. There is so much we take for granted without even thinking about all the work and infrastructure it takes to make it possible and so convenient. I know I will appreciate it more the next time I turn on a garden hose... I haven't even seen one in 4 months!