Thursday, October 22, 2020

All's Well That Ends Well?

Readers of my generation might recall that in the third instalment of The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy, there was something called a Somebody Else's Problem Field

I am currently trying to imagine that this drilling rig outside our front door is cloaked by one such. 

We have/had a nice little triangular park in front of our place we used to refer to in jest as the Triángulo de Ver Mudas. It featured a lovely ficus and the only problem was that it was a magnet for druggies and couples seeking a quick tryst. 

Now it is the site of a new mechanical well. Our village was a cane farm half a century ago. The water table is close to the surface, less than 2m down. Indeed, it is often murmured that the entire valley was prehistorically a crater lake not unlike Atitlán. 

The supply of water is the #1 neighbourhood gripe, and has been for decades. (Which is why one of our neighbours picked one of the worst places in Guatemala to blatantly gorrear.) 

Currently our water reaches us on a bizarrely circuitous route from another location across the valley and the local authorities have always throttled back pressure here to drip levels during the working hours of the day. The more affluent have cisterns they refill overnight, everyone else just has to cope. 

So now we will in theory have a nice big well right in the heart of the village. This is unlikely to put a stop to all the griping however. Those without cisterns will continue to complain that the larger properties are hogging the water. 

And then there is the issue of water quality. A friend of ours up the road from the Castillo family (of Gallo and conquering New Spain fame) has long warned that there are issues with the water that can be found underground here. 

Access to water in Antigua is granted via formal legal titles. One of our concerns is that we will be summarily cut off the old municipal system to which we have title and which has been laid down since the foundation of the community, without consultation, and without any opt in / out on the new pipe. 

Still, I remain a big fan of not fighting things one has no control over.

Update: Another friend, who really knows about this kind of thing, wrote this to me today: "A new bore hole is a good thing. As to quality, deep is better just because it gets filtered more as it drops down from above as the water is pumped out. That volcanic ash is a very good filter. And new pipes are better than old pipes, anywhere in the world."

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