We have had no shortage of water problems since moving to this new house.

1) The water lines in the house were all put in just before we moved in, with the exception of the wall taps in the 2 bathrooms. The plumber did a horrible job, and most of the connections between pipes leak. Into the walls. Onto the ceiling. All over the house. Those have been re-done.

2) The toilet broke after about 10 flushes. We replaced the flusher and a few things in there, but had to have a plumber come out and look at it because it wouldn't stop running. Not running from the tank to the bowl. Running from the tank to the floor. And guess what - there was no shut-off valve. So if there was water in our attic water barrel, it was running to the toilet and out onto the floor. The plumber said there were so many pieces missing (which would control water flow and stuff) that the best solution would be a shut-off valve so that we could turn it on for the tank to fill, then turn it off. Ok, done. Not ideal, but it works.

The 100 liter barrel. 

3) There is no water rationing here like we had in Bamburi, but there will be days (on end) when the whole of Kilifi has no running water. In Bamburi, we had 10,000 liters of water storage. Here, we have 600: 100 in the attic and 500 outside. If we run out of water in the house, we have to haul buckets from outside; there is no pump. Normally, the water flows at night. By using the 500 liter barrel for washing clothes and cleaning, we have enough in the 100 liter barrel to last the day, even if we all take showers/baths. So when city water is flowing, it is enough. But if the water isn't flowing?

Our outdoor water barrel. It was raining, so I didn't go take a good pic...

This week has been a true test of how much water we actually need to have stored. The last day we had running water was Tuesday. Today is Sunday. Our attic water barrel emptied Wednesday night. Thursday evening, our outside water barrel was so low that I suggested to Rodgers we give Penny the day off Friday because we needed that water for flushing the toilet, washing ourselves, and cooking more than we needed our clothes washed and floors mopped.

We keep water in the kitchen in this 50 liter barrel. Rodgers borrowed the yellow jug when he went to get us water this morning. He brought several jugs in addition to filling our kitchen water.

We had spent Wednesday assuming the water would be flowing again that night. We are never wasteful with water, but we didn't really cut back on usage much. Starting Thursday, we conserved water as much as possible, with an "if it's yellow, let it mellow..." policy for toilet flushing and taking what Rodgers terms "desert baths" (just washing the important bits). It has not been fun. This morning Rodgers went out to find water for us because our big barrel is nearly dry. Sometimes people who have a well or tens of thousands of liters stored will let their friends have water during a water shortage. We did when we lived in Bamburi. Now we are on the receiving end.

For now, we catch rain off the roof in our wash tubs.

Our landlord is planning to put gutters around the house which will feed into an additional water barrel.  We are looking into how big a barrel we could bring into the house to replace the tiny one above the bathroom. It has to be small enough to fit through the bathroom door so that we can get it up there (the bathroom doesn't have a ceiling yet). But more than 100 liters would be awesome. We would also like to trade the 500 liter barrel for at least 1000 liters. More water is always better (except when it's all overflowing from the toilet to the bathroom floor...).

There was an episode of Fraggle Rock where the water goes away and the Pipe Bangers couldn't get the water to come back. They sing a song, "Run, water, run! Run, water, run!" I've been singing that this weekend.


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