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Water Part III

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August 19, 2011 by wcobserver

A reformulated plan quickly emerged. The backhoe dug the hole large enough to hold a concrete tank, which was nestled on and surrounded by a two foot margin of washed gravel. With the feed line in place to the pump in its new house and the lid on the tank, it was capped with more washed gravel and then a foot or two of dirt. An overflow pipe dumped into the adjacent creek bed. The water soon filled up the gravel and ran into the tank through the side opening, and then the pump brought the water uphill to the house. This system remains in service now thirty years later.

There have been issues with this method, one of which has been the few times the intake valve has come loose from its moorings and fallen to the bottom of the tank. Then someone had to fish for the line and pull up the valve to attach a new float, or in a couple of cases attach a new valve. But overall the water has been amazingly clean and delicious and we still don’t use a filter. The health department said it’s impossible to get clean spring water in the Ozarks these days, but when we had them up here to test they came back for a second round after the first tests showed no contamination—they didn’t believe it. I haven’t had it tested any time recently. If it hasn’t killed me already, then it must not be too bad.

In such times, when it’s been weeks since any appreciable amount of rain and the pastures are burned up and leaves hang limp on the oaks, we take short showers and limit how much laundry we do and otherwise pay attention to all use of the water. The water tastes sweeter then, each glassful a treasure. We are reminded of the old song where “Dan can’t you see that big green tree where the water’s runnin’ free …” Sooner or later without the rain, we’ll turn on the faucet for a cooling drink and hear the dreaded airy sucking noise of an empty pipe.

At the other end of things, when rain pours from the sky and the hillsides funnel it down to that creek bottom, the channel rages with water. Sometimes it comes so hard and fast it overwhelms my careful ditches and the driveway culvert so the driveway is no obstacle to the creek and the pump house is a island in the flood. I’m sometimes provoked to go down there in the midst of such storms, my raincoat glistening and water in rivulets down my legs, to use a pitchfork to clear the ditches and my shovel to direct the flow. Nothing else matters then except the water, plenty to soak through the topsoil and into the fine clay and fill the tank, plenty for the trees and the fields. The pond swells, small limbs sail by. The land is cleansed of everything that can be moved, dirt and rocks and loose vegetation, bugs of all sizes and petrified mouse skeletons. Land washed bare in strips down the steep hillside, my driveway gravel tumbling in new ruts down the slope. My feet are squeaky wet inside my shoes and I don’t care. There is plenty of water. (The end)

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