Monday, July 13, 2009


We've had several weeks of great weather and lots of enthusiasm to finish the aqueduct system. The main line and all of the house connections are buried now but the most important news is that water is flowing. No air blocks or problems with the flow of water; every house has water running through the faucets. The volume of water is also excellent - the rainy season is well underway (and will grow in intensity until it hammers the Comarca full-force in October).

I anticipated this blog to include photos from the inauguration party... but that is scheduled for July 26th. So here's a photo-update of the latest work.
Line 2 stretches away from the tank dipping down between the mango trees. Where the slope rises up to Saturnino's house, we've installed a reduction to transition from a 2" to a 1.5" line. Out of view is the summit of the tallest hill lying between the tank and the last house and the point where the 1.5" reduces to 1" diameter tubes: the bulk of the system depends on 1-inch lines.

There has already been talk about where some new houses will go, so tees have been strategically placed along likely connection points. This futuristic outlook is a healthy sign that the water committee is considering how it will accommodate changes once the system is inaugurated. It is a critical time to train the community and committee because now the point is to transition ownership from me (the volunteer) to the committee. They will be their own service provider once I'm gone.

Only 2.5 meters below the water tank, Milton's house is located at an important bend in the mainline. Just like we connected the long Line 1, we stopped at mid-day and conducted the anticipated "prueba de agua." It's sort of like an after-lunch surprise... Here is the result:The answer to the question was:
Yes! Yes, there is water running here!

I was mostly worried that there hadn't been enough time for the pvc glue to dry - but after the anticipation to know for sure if the hill summit was going to stone-wall the flow, we were all happy to see that water was gushing to through Milton's patio only 15-minutes after the main valve was opened up.

We bought some expensive cable (total of 300ft so a relatively pricey investment) to use where the lines cross dry and full-running quebradas. These are delicate points in the system and also points of head-loss, so it was a great photo-op when we saw the last house connection:
Just 2 days later we connected the short, 1/2" line to a faucet. Now Milna's house, the last on Line 2 has was flowing plus an emergency clean-out valve.

What drives all this hard work?
Goodwill? Goalsetting? Need? Enthusiasm? Curiosity?
Well, yes, those things count. But also... food!

So what work remains?
Now we're in the trouble-shooting phase.
There are still some valve boxes to construct, threads that need more teflon, another layer of white cement for the tank, and applying some text: "Quebrada Mina, abril 2009" to the tank face.

Soon, there will be inauguration photos to share: I promise!