Matfield Green - Our first years

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

38,000 Gallons

We used 38,000 gallons of water last month. Clara Jo came up to tell us about it as soon as she read the meter.

Note that in the 3 1/2 years that we have owned the bunkhouse we have used 78,000 gallons of water. Since we've been living here fulltime it's gone up to between 6 and 10,000 gallons per month - the 10,000 back in April when we were putting out fires on railroad tracks and in woodchip piles. So 38,000 gallons is a lot of water.

An hour after Clara Jo drove back towards town in her golfcart, friend and city council member Tom Armstrong called to urge us to get out there and walk the water line from our house to town looking for the leak. We've know we had a leak for at least a couple of years. Pat ran an experiment back when it first came to light and found that we were leaking - somewhere - at the rate of about 50 gallons a day. That's 1500 gallons a month. Not 31,500 gallons a month! At 1500 gallons a month we'd expect to find a patch of brightly colored grass among the drying leaves of midsummer. At 30,000+ we might expect a large puddle. I walk the path that covers the place where we dug the ditch to run the waterline virtually everyday. Surely Pepper - on these hot hot mornings would find that puddle and stop for a drink. She's the best sleuth around when it comes to things she can ingest. But she has found nothing.

So we skipped the walking the line and called Jay Scott our excavator and asked him to bring his heavy equipment and come on down and help us hone in on the problem. He arrived the next morning, but without the heavy equipment. He perused the line and found the same lack of puddles that we had. He also told us that his son had left the hose on one night and used up 40,000 gallons. Answered our quesitons. We'd left the hose on two nights. Now we owe $165.

Live and learn.

I like this small town living and learning. I like it that Clara Jo comes and tells me when we've spent an unusual amount of water. I like feeling that connected to the necessities of life. I like feeling that we are all concerned about how much water we are using from our communal well. Leaks are not only my problem - they are the community problem.


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