Saturday, November 10, 2007


TAKING CARE OF THE STREAM


Today was our day to take care of the mountain stream that we all get our water from up here. Not clean the stream itself, which runs mostly over stones and isn't muddy, it's a clear, perky, bubbly flow of water from far up on top of the mountain, an onrushing gift of clouds and gravity, but there's a special spot along its banks (a few hundred meters above our house), where it bounces merrily through the forest like a water child getting all hyperoxygenated, and where we have our diversion apparatus that leads some of the stream into the water co-op pipe while the rest of the stream (by far most of it) freshets its way down the mountain and into the lake where it tries to be vapor so it can get to do the whole great ride all over again.

That apparatus, with its screens and filters to keep out leaves and twigs (and fend off rolling rocks when heavy rain swells the stream and things get rough), has to be cleaned once a week, so the members of the water co-op take turns. This week it was our turn, so we went up there with the co-op's new stream-care manual, got out the boots and tools and did all the steps, starting with step one (close the main valve).

The big screen right at the mouth of the diversion was matted with leaves now that fall has commenced to live up to its name; removing them and letting the water flow free and fast again was like scratching the back of a big liquid beast; very satisfying to all parties concerned. Then step two, open the sluice to lower the water level; then one-by-one through the other steps to the inner filter of stainless steel, which I scrubbed clean with a big tawashi scrub brush. Then I reassembled the filter, raised the water level to wash all the cleansing detritus away, opened the secondary valve to run the piped water back into the stream until all piped was clear again, closed that valve, then did step nine, the final step: re-open the main valve one turn.

Satisfying on a deep level, to take care of a stream/human interface, and get cold, clear skywater in return...

Reminded me of an experience somewhere, long before my own life...



6 comments:

Tabor said...

Fascinating that with all the mammals in your woods your water is safe to take from above ground!

Bob Brady said...

We only use it straight for bathing, washing and laundry; filtered for boiling/cooking. We get our drinking water from a mountain ground spring much further up.

Winston said...

It is also very satisfying on another level to know there are pockets of people where such community cooperation still exists.

Bob Brady said...

Yes, winston, it is nice to know that each in the group is watching over all, that when help is needed it is right at hand.

Maya's Granny said...

There is something so satisfying about working with nature, and with water. My grandfather was a ditchtender with an irrigation district and I loved going out with him to change the water and send it flowing into the fields that needed it. Simply machines, the gates of the 40s were, simple and elegant.

Val said...

Not got any of these nasty fish in there then, what a shame! Poor Lake Biwa http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7094048.stm