One of the big unknowns when we moved here was water. We had originally said we wanted a house with mains water and electricity supply, then we fell in love with the valley and so bought a house which had neither. I’d never had to think about water before. Turning on the tap suddenly didn’t seem so simple.
The house was not connected to either mains water or drainage, relying instead on a natural spring and a septic tank. The latter was installed by our predecessors and has worked without problem. But the reliance on water which emerged from the ground seemed a little risky to us, being mains-water raised people, especially after a series of summer droughts in southern Spain [this was in 2007].
All the water for the house, and to irrigate the land, comes from a spring at the back of the house next to the wood store [below]. This seemed a little… precarious. The spring is an innocuous thing, you wouldn’t look twice at it. Once a year we remove the plant pots, take off the lid, and clear out the leaf debris. Apart from that it functions without any intervention from us. The water is piped from here into a 25,000 litre water tank, depósito [above and below] 20 metres away from the spring. We installed the tank as a back-up storage system which would allow for water deliveries if needed in the future. Needless to say the spring has never dried up, we have never had a water shortage, and there have been no water deliveries. So the depósito is our equivalent of taking an umbrella when going for a walk on a cloudy day. From the depósito, the water is pumped to the house when needed. Click here for an explanation of how the water pump works. When the depósito is full, the overflow is piped to the bottom of the valley and drains into the soil. The overflow from the spring’s well runs into a sink on the terrace [below] which functions as a rustic water feature. I use it principally to fill the watering can when I am watering pots in the summer. Pablo carries a flask and fills it with water from here, both Pablo and his two boys prefer drinking spring water, have grown up drinking it. We drink it also, filtered in a Brita jug. During a wet winter, it is not uncommon for a new spring to appear on the hillside. Often it is just a puddle, and nine times out of ten it dries up with the first warmth of the sun. One exception is this new spring [below] which appeared at the side of the track in May and survived the summer. Plans are in place to pipe it to use for irrigation, click here to read more. It is not an uncommon sight to see cars parked at the side of a busy road, with a whole family filling water bottles from a roadside spring. Spring water is highly valued here.
5 to remember
lo desconocido – the unknown
la red de suministro de agua – mains water
el desagüe – drainage
una fosa séptica – a septic tank
un fuente – a spring [water]