Thursday, January 14, 2021

water 1

this is the water wagon station where you can fill up your containers.  A delivery truck can be seen on the side of the station filling up so he can go out and deliver water to their customers.


Water—we tend to take it for granted.  Turn on the faucet and out it flows.  Oh, sure, while we lived in Portland, we had drought warnings in the summer sometimes and being a person who believes in conservation, I was always happy to try to cut back on my usage.  And I thought I was doing a pretty good job!  It didn’t take very long in Fairbanks, though, for me to learn that there was more to be done.
    Fairbanks is very dry.  There are also permafrost areas.  So ground water is not abundant.  Building a house off the city water system means making choices.  You can try to dig a well, but it will probably have to be very deep and expensive.  The quality of the water may be questionable.  You can go without running water altogether—many people do this.  There are cabins all over the area with outhouses and no water.  
4.40 for a 10min shower
Laundromats have shower rooms to accommodate people who live in these places. Water is available at pumping stations and at a spring north of town.  If neither of those options appeals to you, you can install a holding tank and have water delivered.  Our house had a well that pumped water into a holding tank that was in a subterranean room that you could climb down into.  We were told that the well pumped 200 gallons of water a day.  This would be no problem, we figured, since we were pretty good at not using large amounts of water—or so we thought!
    A few days after our arrival in Fairbanks, someone flushed.  It was pretty clear from the resulting noises that we were not getting any water coming into the house.  Bill and Rick climbed underground to have a look.  Yup, the tank was dry.  They tried the button for the well pump.  Nothing happened.  Figuring that there was a problem with the pump, we looked up the number of the company that had recently installed the pump, though since it was Independence Day, we knew we wouldn’t be talking to them until the following day.
   Someone came out in the morning, tested it and said everything was fine.  We just had a well that was producing variably, we were told, and to test exactly how much would be an expensive proposition.  We were advised to just have water delivered.  Back to the phone book we went.  Rick called around town and discovered that everyone’s prices were the same—six cents per gallon with a $50 minimum.  They kept asking how big the tank was and Rick kept guessing 500 gallons.  We picked a company and they came over.  The guy went to look at the tank and informed us it was 1500 gallons.  Then he began pumping the water through the black pipe sticking up from the ground (so that’s what that was for!).  It was just like an oil delivery that you might get to heat your house.  It took several minutes and that was it!  We paid the bill and the guy left.

18 comments:

  1. Yes, we take it for granted here. What a nasty surprise with the empty tank.
    We always had 2 big 25l water canister in the car plus several large bottles (drinking water is free in Australia, at least back then) and a solar shower on the roof, but often we also found real toilets on the way. And ;-).... at least it was warm!
    How deep down was that subterranean room?

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    1. Bill says he thinks it was about 15 feet. There was a ladder bolted to the concrete blocks and that's how he got in--I never went down there. There is more to the whole water story coming up in which that room plays a prominent role!

      One would need a lot of water in that hellish heat. Of course, I would be passed out, so wouldn't notice it ;-)

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    2. Oh, I thought it would be deeper!

      We mostly had the water for in case we get stuck in the middle of nowhere.
      Even if we had a cell back then (1999), in the Outback you have no signal and sometimes you don´t see a soul in 2-3 days.

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  2. Very interesting, Shari and Bill! I read through your entire Alaka adventure so far. You were sometimes confronted with completely unexpected problems "on the go". I found the "pepper spray episode" very "funny" ;-) If I got it right, you lived in Portland before (I thought you were Irish...)? And the beautiful house with the totem was in Fairbanks? From when to when did you live in Alaka? And then you moved to Ireland? It all sounds like a very exciting life!
    All the best for 2021 🍀
    and good wishes from Austria,
    Traude

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Hello Traude!
      We are originally from the US and lived in several places there before emigrating and coming to Ireland 7 years ago. You did get it right--we lived in Portland before moving to Fairbanks, where we lived for a decade, starting in the mid-90s.
      I hope you have a great day!

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  3. Gosh, one would think there was plenty of water in Alaska, but that is wrong! Very interesting to know what you had to do to get water...I suppose it was very clean.

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    1. It was clean! We happened to live in Interior Alaska where it was quite dry--the snow was always the dry powdery kind that sparkles. It was gorgeous on sunny days after snowstorms! Other parts of the huge state had different climates and some were quite wet and humid.

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  4. Bet you never took water for granted ever again. Great story!

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    1. We sure didn't! And after a few years, we had to learn to do with even less!

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  5. Wow, I learned something today! I never would have thought that Alaska would have places that had a shortage of water and that some people had to have it delivered or do without. I couldn't imagine not having water, so I'd have it delivered.

    Your stories are so interesting! Keep them coming please!

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    1. We lived in the interior, which was quite dry, but other parts of the state were wetter.

      We thought we wouldn't like to live without running water, but then we had to learn how! More water stories on the way :-)

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  6. Ya he llegado hasta a él y ahora me detengo, para informarme.

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  7. Jeez I couldn't imagine life like that! I am so glad I live in Scotland with our good water!

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  8. Yes, water is something we take for granted.
    We are happy and grateful to have a well with good water and great water pressure.
    I will be reading the rest of your blog!!

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  9. There are many things we do take for granted and water is one of them!

    All the best Jan

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  10. Uy las cosas que se aprenden. Buen fin de semana te mando un beso

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