The Tank is Empty?


It’s 6:30 am, 14 degrees C, and I’m somewhat awake. I’ve been up for about 20 minutes and in that time, I’ve been pottering around the house checking the water and even went up to the roof to listen to the splash of water filling our  tank. Yesterday just past noon, our housekeeper Geeta, complained of low water pressure while working in the kitchen. It took a few moments for the ramifications to sink in.

We’re connected to public water works in Delhi, but the way it works is that the Delhi Jal Board supplies water twice a day in our area. As of yesterday that was from 5:30 am through 7:30 am and from 6:00 pm through 7:30 pm, daily. During those times our water pump goes on and water gets pumped up to a storage tank (approx. 1000 Liters) and this tank then sources water to our apartment. When Geeta spoke of low water pressure, that meant our tank was close to empty and had been for a while! The last time I had to get the tank cleaned, it took me 3 days of great abandon to finish a 1/4 tank and that had been hard work. So, empty meant that the pump had not turned on for a few days and we’d failed to notice.

Our pump system, like many in our area, is a timer, a pump and a water tank sensor. Based on the Jal Board’s timing the timer’s been programmed to turn on the pump at certain hours of the day and stay on until the tank’s filled, or the time runs out. That’s one reason why electricity’s so diligently available in the morning. Without it, all our tanks would be dry. I wasn’t sure where the problem was. Initially, my thought was that since the Jal Board had been cleaning the reservoirs in different areas it’d been our turn and so water had probably not been supplied at the right times. I waited until other pumps came on in the evening. Our pump stayed off. After staring at the simple timer device for 30 minutes, it dawned on me that there was a problem – either with the timer or with the pump.

At this point, it is important to note how having a greatIMAG0110 landlord can be a great blessing. I called him up and within seconds he’d arrived at the same conclusion. We agreed on a course of action: first, get an electrician to check the pump and its power connection and if that was fine, take the next step, calling the timer guru.

The electrician came by and after fiddling in the basement and up in our balconyIMAG0112 we ascertained that the timer was at fault. The timer noted that power needed to be directed towards the pump, but the voltage on the wires was at zero. The timer guru would be available tomorrow around 10 am at the earliest. We did the jugaad thing and I dug up an extension cable and we spliced a new plug into the pump wires.

And here I am serving the function of the timer, turning on the pump at the appointed hour. Soon, it’ll be 7:30 and probably a bit before that I’ll turn the pump off. When showering happily remember this interesting incident and from now on keep an eye on that water sensor!

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