Living with spring water

One of the big unknowns when we moved here was water. glass of water 3-1-14We 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 3-1-14The 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. big deposito1 4-7-13big deposito2 4-7-13The 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. big deposito3 4-7-13Needless 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. big deposito4 4-7-13When 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. the overflow sink 1-5-13During 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. a new spring appears at the side of the track 1-5-13It 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]

4 thoughts on “Living with spring water

  1. EllaDee

    One of the things I was unsure of about our house at Taylors Arm was that it had rain water tanks only – my childhood memories of the old corrugated iron tanks and water at my grandparents’ farm were less than positive but times have changed, and we have a big concrete and a big poly tank – both well maintained… While we were away recently, I recall sitting, sipping a glass of tank water and remarking just how wonderful it was.
    So, I think your spring is marvellous but it was a prudent idea to install the tank storage as well.
    I love the self sufficiency of not being hooked up to mains water, as well as the taste despite the uncerrtainity of the supply reliant on the weather. Sydney mains water suply is not immune either, as the dam levels have gone done the smell and taste of chlorine has increased – yuck. In the city we boil, filter & refrigerate our drinking water. In the country, we drink it straight from the tap, and my hair and skin love it.

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    1. sandradan1 Post author

      We notice the difference in taste when we head back to the UK, to processed chlorinated water. I hadn’t thought about it being kinder to skin and hair too, but you are right. But in Spain I tend to go au naturel anyway so my hair gets a break from the hairdryer. SD

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