Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Just a few hundred yards from the front gate, the water is plentiful. The cool, salty Pacific Ocean is perfect for floating on your back to relax or healing up the scrapes and cuts you may have a acquired from a day’s work, but not so good for drinking, showering or watering plants.
The journey of our water begins on the main line that runs through Mayto. As the main line winds down to the beach to supply the Hotel Mayto, El Rinconcito and Casa Jardin, it stops of at Rancho Sol Y Mar and fills up our lower cistern (large cement tank). From there, a solar powered pump runs whenever the sun is shining to send the water up a large hill to cistern #2, which is located on a hill just to the side of the house. Next, it runs via gravity to the three hose outlets in the yard, and the house itself. Three different spigots, with a total of five hoses allow us to water all the plants and keep the dogs, chickens, cows, horses and goats supplied with fresh water.

But the fun doesn’t stop there: conservation is a big part of life here. Not only because water is a precious commodity that is all too often taken for granted; but also because if the main line through town has a leak, it may be a few days before it’s fixed and you’ll need to make due with what is available in your cistern(s).
The sink in the kitchen always has a large dish pan in it. Whether washing dishes, washing hands, or rinsing vegetables, every bit of water that comes out of the faucet is caught in this bucket rather than sent down the drain. When it is full, it’s carried out into the yard and used to water plants. This typically means about 15 trips a day out into the yard with a precariously full pan of grey water (try not to spill it on your shirt!). This puts to good use what would’ve otherwise gone down the drain.

Similarly, all our water from the laundry machine is recycled into the roots of banana trees and garden beds. We’ve entered the 20th century on the ranch with a washing machine and are no longer tediously scrubbing clothes by hand! However, all the water that is used in the washing machine runs into a large plastic drum, kept alongside the washer. From there, a small 12v pump creates the pressure necessary to pump this grey water through a hose and onto thirsty plants. What a great feeling to be reusing what could have so easily be wasted.


  1. Riley, Isn't the water soapy?? What does that do to the plants?

  2. It's fine. they're hearty enough, and the soap diluted enough that the bit of soap doesn't hurt them.

  3. number one resource taken for granted by those who have easy access to it.