Update on our water problems

The Socal drought continues unabated, relentless. In two years we’ve had about 14 inches of rainfall. With the rivers and reservoirs of the west drying up, it’s an existential problem for 40 million people in Socal. There are no fast solutions, but there *are* solutions (desal+PV farms).

Meanwhile, we’ve cut over to city water while our well gets repaired. After about 10 years of service, our in-acquifer pump has died. It needs to be retrieved from its spot 650 feet underground (and about 70 feet underwater), pulled to the surface and replaced. This is the second time we’ve had to do this in 18 years.

We’ve been on city water exclusively, for home use and irrigation, for about a week. I shudder to think what our city water bill will be. We have no usage history, so the charge could be…anything.

The good news is that the low(er) particulate and chlorinated city water is scrubbing the red rust stain out of our pipes. For a few days we had to put up with nasty-looking orange-ish water – not dangerous to consume, but unpleasant looking. Now things have cleared up. For the first time in memory, dishes come out of our dishwasher sparkling clean. Shower heads and toilets are losing their perpetual lime scale. So there’s definitely an upside.

We’re going to work harder this time to improve the quality of the water from the well by adding a treatment stage – filtering more of the particulates and iron out of the water before we even put it in the storage tank. We have filters on the water that is used in the house, but that single stage isn’t enough.

Given the big picture of water in Socal, I continue to think that our drilling a well 18 years ago was smart. Over the next decade, it could be immensely valuable. But we have to invest in improving the water quality, making it closer to city water. I never thought I’d have to become a water expert, but living here…it’s crucial. One of these days 40 million people are going to wake up and ask…”what are we going to do, please help”. I don’t intend to be one of them.

The title picture above is from South Elkhorn Creek near Midway KY, where Weisenberger Mills still produces corn meal the old fashioned way. With 45 inches of rainfall annually at Midway (6-7 times what we receive!), they don’t have any water problems.

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