05 June 2010

A Water Рассказ

A Traditional Russian Story is a Рассказ, pronounced Raskaz.  

Here, after an introduction, is our Water Рассказ...

About the photos...
Our water rolls off the roofs, is pull-pumped from the well, or push-pumped from the lake (by a small submersible pump suspended by a rope from a long pole).  Next to the Petrollo pump is a 1971 Riga 8 automatic washing machine, priced at 78 rubles, too expensive except for the privileged.

Life at the typical dacha  involves the basics… water, heat, food.  When you are strong and enthusiastic it can be rewarding to be successful in filling these needs.

Water comes from the sky, lake, and ground.  Besides water for your garden, washing, cooking and drinking… the usual Russian feels he needs a reliable source for his banya, the Rus sauna.

The pumps are electric so they are down when we have a power outage, often once or twice a week.

We have five botchki to catch rainwater, we pump household water from the lake along with neighbors on our hill, and struggle with our well and the village hand pump to get drinking water.
Most people in our village have колодец, kolodits, wells dug with shovels to around ten meters.  Some work, some don’t .  Others have скважина, ckvajena, wells drilled with a hand crank.  

   ~Our story starts with my yearly question about
getting a deep well drilled~

Our search for a well driller started in 2005.
Every year I say to Larissa, “There has to be a well driller in Ostashkov or Tver.  Why can’t we find one? 

Larissa , each year more impatiently than the last, explains,  “You don’t understand how things work – or don’t work – here.  It’s very hard for a small business to get the money together for a drilling rig, and then they are visible and likely to have a lot of taxes and harassment.” 

Other impeding factors are alcoholism and a lackluster attitude towards work.

We hire a dowsing  hand-driller in 2007.

We settled for three men from Pena… Losha, Losha, and Cola.  Young Losha, the boss, who casts a big shadow, started dowsing… with a soda can and a piece of farm wire.  I was incredulous.  They test  drilled a few places, and then disappeared for a while. 

They reported back that they had successfully found water, but off our property!  We have a water rights clause for this contiguous land, so we reluctantly hooked up.

Life’s a party when you drill wells!

Their hand drill was good for ten meters.  Older Lowsa, with few remaining teeth but good-natured, was the electrical and plumbing  expert.  Cola, just out of the Army, and with a growing family, provided the heft for digging.  They ran pipe to a new pump in our banya, and then to the toilet and kitchen of our home.

This was completed with many cigarettes and copious amounts of beer, large shares of each consumed by the boss... and a lot of sky larking… laughing and having a good time.  After several visits by the trio, we were satisfied.  The total cost was 60,000 rubles, approximately $2,000.  

Words are cheap…

Young Lowsa assured us that they would be on call to fix problems, connect and disconnect, and store our pump safely during the winter.  Of course, there was no written estimate, itemized bill, or guarantee.  Within a year there attention had drifted and most calls were not answered.

We usually get running water till the well runs dry towards the end of JulyWe need a deeper, more reliable source.

Our Pedrollo pump breaks this year.

Although we had our Italian pump drained before we stored it in the house at the end of August, some hidden water remained, which broke a large seal.  It may or may not work, but now it seems the lines are clogged.  We are in the market for a new system once again.

Our neighbor thought he could find a rig to drill twenty meters, and we agreed to split the cost.   A driller near Moscow said it would be 2,500 ruble a meter, to at least 50 meters.  Now our friend is planning to filter lake water.

I catch myself becoming negative about our possibilities to get things done… a Russian characteristic I have gained after 10 years!

Our Water Story seems to have no end

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  1. As always interesting to read to compare cultures and local issues and ways to solve them! Here after the building boom many of illegal (at the moment)houses are on 'builders supply' for both water and electric. Both are unreliable and insufficient for the demand. They cannot be connected to the mains supplies until they are legalised. When? Who knows in Spain.

  2. American Russia ObservationsThursday, August 26, 2010

    Rob Innis is a perceptive observer of what's happening in Spain... and a published author.

    Sounds like Espana has a measure of chaos as in Russia.

    Thanks for commenting and I hope you find items that you want to add to in the future!


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