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IPFS News Link • Venezuela

Adapting to Life Without Running Water: Lessons from Venezuela


But do you need that much water? Are you really going to need a dishwashing machine all the days of your life?  I could afford a lovely, nice and shiny dishwasher, back there in the happy days. But being environmentally conscientious, and trying to invest the hard earned money wisely, I decided to buy and install a water tank instead and was one of the better choices I have made. Oh, and we instate the rule at home that everyone washes his/her dish immediately after eating. No exceptions (unless some guest was present, but this was infrequent). It is much easier to clean fat and rinse fresh residues than to do it the day after. Everyone knows this. And after the habit is prevalent, it is done.

Believe me when I tell you that running water you take for granted may not always be there.

Lack of water became a huge problem in Venezuela

One of the issues that impacted most deeply in our daily lives, as much as the power grid failures, was the lack of water. With temperatures the entire year over 30 degrees (86 degrees Fahrenheit), you see what I mean. The only way to bear the heat is showering often. I can withstand a lot of heat, having been born and bred down here…but sometimes it was just too much, and I would go to soak myself with the hose, shorts and t-shirt included, in my backyard, while working in my SUV, bike, front garden or some other project.

The heat and lack of water make for a deadly combination. I remember reading news about a teenager dying of dehydration in an enormous traffic congestion some years ago (one of those hurricanes alert that made everyone evacuate the entire area) and that was painful. It was something she could have survived. After that, I would not leave home on a long road trip without one or two gallons of drinkable water and an ice chest. Heat and not drinking enough water can easily mess you up if you are not careful.

This said, and having a small kid at home, our priority was to make sure we would have some way to cook (induction kitchen and a dual fuel camping stove) additionally to the propane kitchen. Propane these days is almost impossible to find without having the connections and cash in hand: the mafia has seized whatever basic need of the people has been possible, to charge incredible amounts of money. In an oil producing country, where thousands of millions of cubic feet of all kind of combustible gas is burned in the production facilities, this is highly indignant. But let's keep elaborating about the water topic.

Traditional water filtration in Venezuela

Traditionally, in Venezuela (and other tropical countries) the water filtering was with a stone device called "Tinajero". A large furniture, like a strong support made of wood, where a clay vessel on the floor, between the legs of the thing, would receive the water filtered from a stone recipient on top of the furniture, drop by drop. Usually, the stone pot would have a fern on it, with the roots in the water.

Please don't ask me why the fern. I have always wondered this myself. LOL.

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