A Marked Lack of Water

After trying to see how well £3200-worth of camera gear would bounce when thrown at a tarmac road surface, I’ve been back out and about a couple of times looking for Odos again, now concentrating on my grip on the camera. [A phrase concerning stable doors and horses springs to mind.]

I popped over to another valley, driving past the blackened landscape of yet another mountain fire, and on to Val d’Ebo where we had had some Odonata success a few years ago. Our part of Spain is about two years into a drought so I wasn’t sure what I’d find. What I found surprised me; there was water, just, certainly noticeably less than we’d seen here previously, but even though there was some water I found not one single critter. Curious.

J15_2981 Trithemis annulataI had already returned once to the Jalon river and found that one of my favourite pools there now seemed to be lifeless following my camera bouncing episode. That was quite late in teh afternoon, though, so now I wanted to check mid afternoon. I did so. The pool had shrunk noticeably in a couple of days of 30°C heat. I found nothing, nada, nichts. At camera bounce bend, where the water still looked quite reasonable, I did find a couple (not the four we saw previously) of my beloved gaudy pink Violet Dropwings (Trithemis annulata), one of which offered me a better pose than before, and the Emperor (Anax imperator) was still cruising about but I’m curious about the other spots that look as though they should have life. I’m wondering if, in many of teh locations, the water quality is too poor given the amount of evaporation that has occurred – certainly, the water surface in many cases looks unappealing – and that the critters have skipped.

It’s not just the Odos that have been suffering from a lack of water. Yesterday morning we went out shopping. [Oh no, not shopping again!?] When we returned at lunchtime, my relief at having returned soon evaporated as we discovered that Casa Libélule was suffering from a lack of water. For those that may be unaware, which is probably only Brits, that there is no cold water storage tank in continental houses, everything being fed directly from the main. So when the water is off, it’s all off and you’ve got no water at all; nothing, nada, nichts. That’s exactly what we had.

Our nearest neighbours, who had arrived a few days earlier, were out so I couldn’t aske if their water was working. I found another couple moving furniture in to one of the houses and asked them but they had not yet been connected to the water supply so that was no help in determining if we were part of a general problem or unique. I went down the hill to our friend, Jim, who declared that he did have water. Hmm, not looking good. He did suggest contacting the estate agent who might call the Town Hall to see if there was an issue.

Meanwhile, our neighbours had returned. They were also without water, I was a little relieved to hear, there being safety in numbers. Off to the normally helpful estate agent [no, still feels wrong] who was not there. Bother! I bit the bullet. I drove to the Town Hall, mustered all my courage and wandered in. “Perdon, hablo poco Espanol. La Almazara es sin agua”, I managed, startling even myself. It may have been utter nonsense but it caused a reaction. The receptionist wandered into an office and reappeared saying something which I took to mean that someone was aware of the problem and was out working on it.

Long story short. Our development spreads itself half way up a mountain and our house is at the highest level. Somewhere above it is a large communal tank which the Spanish call a deposito into which water is pumped from below in the valley. Sometimes the pump fails. Such an occurrence first causes the deposito slowly to empty as water is used. Then supply pipes to all the houses begin to empty so the higher houses feel the effect the first, though there is still water in the lower pipes so lower houses still have water for a time. “Time” can be a day or a little more.

We still had no water by the time we went to bed. Copying a more experienced resident, I filled a bucket and 5-litre contained with swimming pool water so we might flush the loos when it inevitably became necessary. I was beginning to change my opinion and favour our British cold –water-tank-in-each-house solution. The system was apparently fixed but it now took some time while the downstream pipework was first refilled before the top deposito would start filling.

In the middle of the night nature called and I tried a tap. We had some water but at a much lower pressure than normal. It took all of the next day before normal service was restored.

How nice it is to be able to flush loos and do washing up.

I felt even more sorry for the local Odos who rely on their diminishing supplies to continue their life cycle.

Posted in 2015 Spring

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