Daily we have water pouring from the skies yet we miss the ability to really enjoy water. After cold showers as well as trying to attempt a shower but there was no water, we have learned a few things about water usage in India.
Each building has water tanks on top of them that hold the water for the different apartments. (These are some pictures of buildings across the street from where we currently live. The black tanks are the water tanks.)
In our kitchen there is a switch we have to turn on daily for about 30 minutes to refill the water for our apartment. Some of the water comes from the ground well and some comes from the tank sitting on the top of the roof. There are trucks that come by as needed to refill these water tanks. If the switch is not turned on daily, you go to turn on a shower and find out there is no water to be had. We wish someone would have explained that to us a little clearer. We also learned after I tried taking the first shower when we arrived that unlike the big water heater sitting in our garage at home that automatically produces hot water as it is turned on, each bathroom has a little individual water heater that needs to be turned on about 15 minutes before you want to shower. You get about 6-8 minutes of warm water for your shower. If you share a shower, the next person to shower needs to wait about 10 more minutes to get some warm water. (Picture of water heater in bathroom below.)
What is missed more than the automatic hot water though, is the ability to drink the water. It is getting old having to brush your teeth with bottled water and make sure that no water enters your mouth during the shower. The boys have said, “let’s just adapt quicker to India by getting used to the water now.” But it only takes a little bout of “Delhi belly” (the name given by those at the American school) to realize that our bodies are having enough adjustments even when we are using only bottled water. When we go into a restaurant, we have to either go without ice in drink or take a gamble that they really understood us when we asked if the water is filtered for the ice. I haven’t taken that risk yet but seem to be the one experiencing the most “Delhi belly” in the family currently.
It is not suggested to eat any raw vegetables at restaurants (I miss my salads!) because of the water in which things have been washed. When Tyler ordered a Subway sandwich for lunch one day at work, he realized there were too many risks in the fresh vegetables to make it worth it after a few bites. At home, we wash the fruit and vegetables with a vegetable wash that can be purchased in the stores. It is a solution that kills all the different bacteria, insecticide, fungus, etc.
The American Embassy has a large water treatment plant which makes the American school water safe so my kids can drink out of the water fountain and can eat from the salad bar at school. Too bad, we can’t brush our teeth there in the morning and night as well.