Working with rainwater harvesting in Puerto Rico and Mexico has helped us recognize the simple necessity of clean water. Without easy access to this God given right, all life struggles. Some of us forget that it is a blessing to have clean water flowing from our taps.
Air is the Guru. Water is the Father. Earth, the Great Mother. ~Guru Nanak
I have been living in Mexico for the past two years. At my house we catch rain water in the rainy season to fill our cistern. Then we pump fresh water to a tank on top of the house that creates pressure and fills the tubes inside our house. The abundance of water is glorious for a few months every year. Since we are harvesting the raw element of rain, we have to constantly be aware of our system. For example, a few weeks ago I found our cat chewing on a rat on top of the roof where we catch water. Now imagine if I had not caught her in the act. We could have had a serious problem if the water of the house was infected by a rat corpse. As a solution, I cleaned the roof well with bleach and then followed up by dosing our cistern with chlorine tablets. Though this method of prevention is not my ideal (I prefer filters, UV & colloidal silver), it was a guarantee that our water would be safe to shower and clean with.
In the dry season, we typically use our rainwater first, and then begin filling our cistern with the water from the well. As the months go on, the well slowly begins to get lower and lower. We rely on the well for cooking, cleaning/bathing, drinking, and watering the garden. We have many fruit trees in our garden and they require a heavy dose of water a few times a week in order to stay healthy. Our big canopy trees provide our garden with shade, moisture, and biodiversity which dramatically affects the microclimate of our home. Towards the end of the dry season we need to be extra careful not to waste water, or we risk running out of it.
Believe it or not, we have it GOOD here in Mexico! We are fortunate to have both a rainwater system and a well. Many families do not have either and need to rely on trucks bringing them water. Some areas of Mexico (including the Huitchol) still carry buckets of water from rivers or water holes for their families.
The cost of clean water in third world countries is high. Many people pay the high price of sickness if they are unable to afford clean water.
We are going to India in a few weeks to support Ramana's Garden Children's Home. Our original plan was to focus solely on water though their founder asked us to shift our efforts into supporting them with upgrading their solar system. Even though it makes most sense to focus our resources in the area of most need, they are still having problems with their water systems.
Ramana's Garden does catch rainwater. They use this water for their bathrooms and to water the garden. With proper filtration, it can be used as a source for hydration. Currently, the water that is being stored in their tanks smells bad. The rain is falling acid from the sky due to pollution being blown into Rishikesh, though this does not explain the smell. I reached out to Enrique from Isla Urbana (we teamed together in Puerto Rico), and he told me that they catch acid rain in Mexico City all the time and it never smells. His conclusion was that there was something drastically wrong with their system.
It is possible that the roofs have something funky (i.e. monkey droppings or fungus), the piping is holding stagnant water, or the tanks are allowing for bacteria growth. We will arrive to Ramana's Garden in November with the tools and funds necessary to help them troubleshoot their systems and provide clean water for their children. We will take diagnostics of their systems and work with professionals to improve them.
We have the goal to raise $15,000 for this water project. With the help of our generous donors, we are over halfway to our goal. To support this effort, please visit here.
God bless you, and may we all have clean water forever!!!!