American in Spain

Dry Monday

May 8, 2007

Colindres is growing at an incredible rate. There are currently at least 10 different apartment buildings under construction. Due to all the construction work, occasionally, they have to cut off the water supply to certain neighborhoods. This happens about every two months, and it's rarely off for more than two or three hours.

Yesterday, the water was turned off to our house from 8:00 to 16:00. That's eight hours! When this happens, you normally notice the pressure drop significantly, and then you get about 3 minutes of weak faucet time before it stops completely. I used this to wash my face and hands in the morning, and my hands once during the morning. And then the pipes were dry.

For lunch, we had leftover chicken from the birthday party last weekend. This required a few drops of water to reheat, which I had available in a filtering jug that is normally full with a liter or so. By chance, the electric kettle had enough in it for coffee after lunch. So the water shortage didn't affect our food consumption at all.

Where I did notice the effect was in general hygiene. I didn't go to the gym in the morning because I knew I wouldn't be able to shower upon return. By the time the water came back on, the toilet really needed flushing and the kitchen was piled high with dirty dishes. These were the only inconveniences we experienced.

It really got me thinking how much we first worlders take running water for granted. It's just always there. I was going to suggest that my readers try an experiment to avoid using running water for eight hours (waking hours!) like I had to do yesterday, but none of you would or could do it, so I'll be satisfied with this: The next time you touch a faucet, try to have a little "Man, that's cool how the water comes right outta there when I turn that little knob!" moment. Then you can go back to worrying about whatever pyramid-topping social issue you were worried about before.