Wednesday, April 2, 2008


It's raining lightly here this morning. Yesterday was sunny. For days, weeks and months we've read and heard about the scarcity and rising rates of water being pumped into our homes. Based on the water bill here and the spinning of the meter when no one was using water I knew we had some undiscovered leaks in our system, so I decided to go after them, starting at the meter and digging my way in. Within 5 minutes I found our first leak: a corroded fitting on a cobbed-in tee right on the customer side of the riser the water company installed that attached to our main service line.

The shut off valve to the meter was frozen, wouldn't budge, and the leak was spurting erratically with every nudge, threatening to burst with no means of shutting down the water. A call to Cal-Am Water brought, in succesion, one then two additional service personnel, none of whom were able to shut off the water at the meter, or locate a suitable gate valve in the vicinity. After consulting their atlas, they drove off to a location about a quarter mile away, up the hill, where by means of cell phone and garden hose technology, they & I identified a certain gate valve that shut down the water for us and several of our neighbors. Repairs were made and thus the first leak has been found and fixed. And no bill, other than a hopefully reduced water usage fee.

The guilty cobbed-in tee fed a line that actually was closed off by the gate valve just adjacent to the tee and in fact was no longer in use, inasmuch as it terminated some 4 feet away where the pipe simply and abruptly stopped in open-ended fashion. Consequently it was removed. I am alternately relieved and unnerved to think that any morning I could've gone out to find a gurgling lake feeding a new stream across the driveway and down the storm drain.
So, onto the next leak, and in the interest of water resource conservation, I'm pondering the utility and practicality of a water catchment pond that could be incorporated into the ravine below the cottage for irrigation purposes.
(p.s. click on the top photo for a larger version of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, and on the other pics for a larger view of ugly pipes)

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