Weekly Photo Challenge: Adapting to Climate Change

Poor rural people are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change in Central America. On Ometepe Island, we live on ecologically fragile land and the locals depend on agriculture, livestock, and fishing to make a living.

An increased frequency of uncommon weather patterns has had a wide impact in Nicaragua. This year, for instance, we had an uncommonly dry rainy season. Drought has ravaged farmers, prompting a spike in food prices, as well as water rationing throughout our regional water supply area.

We usually have running water every other day for half a day. This morning, the water pressure was strong enough to fill my washing machine and run a load of clothes  (for the first time in two weeks), but I had to start the washing machine at 5:30 am. It’s a good thing I’m an early riser, because at 9:00 am the water stopped.

Although we have no control over the climatic changes, we do have control over the water supply in our house. Marvin to our rescue! He’s constructing a six meter water tower in our back yard, with a maximum capacity pressurized water tank at the top. That way, even when we don’t have electricity, we’ll have water running throughout our house.

Once the tower is complete, we are going to run a water line to our neighbor’s house, too. I can’t imagine living with three small children under the age of four without access to water. These pictures represent a big change in the making for us. By next week, we should have a steady supply of water for two families.


17 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Adapting to Climate Change

  1. I really hope all goes well and if you only have one neighbor close by maybe others will not be envious/jealous that they are benefiting from your presence. It is amazing that being on an island in a freshwater lake there would be problems, why don’t they just run a line deep into the lake and treat the water? I know that takes $$ but if they can build an airport….

    • So right, Dean! I wish they would have invested the money in a new hospital instead of an airport. I think we are in a unique situation here in La Paloma. The Puesta Del Sol Association supplies water through a well for the families involved in the Puesta Del Sol coop. There are about 10 houses in our neighborhood that offer home stays through the Puesta Del Sol Association. Almost everyone in La Paloma has a source of water in addition to the municipal water, except for us and our closest neighbors. I’m in survival mode here…counting the minutes until we get our first rain.

  2. Pingback: The Midas Touch – Vanishing the air & water; a supreme feat by mankind. | The Earth Patriot

  3. There can be risks and unintended consequences to anything we do. So perhaps that is what Dean meant. But if we stop taking risks, particularly on other humans, then what kind of humans and what kind of lives are we living?

    I’m sure you’re being smart in your decision-making and, as usual, generous and fair in regards to your neighbor. Good luck with the water tower construction and continued municipal supply. Reuben just dug our own (deep) well to have another option because it has been so bad on that side of the island. This has indeed been a bad and very scary year if it is the future with climate change.

    • Jon, life is all about jumping. I guess we are risk takers or we wouldn’t be here. I believe Dean was just trying to warn me and protect me. I don’t have a very good track record for collecting money owed to us. Yet, I’m wiser and less naive than before, which is a good thing.
      These past two months have been horrible with the municipal water problems, and I don’t foresee it getting any better. Our neighbor works for the water company and he said the water supplied by the city well is at an all time low. They can’t afford to dig the well deeper, so they are rationing the water. The other day, I walked home with Jose and everyone along the way was complaining to him about the dribble of water we get each day. Poor guy! We went without running water for 5 days. I complained to Jose, who was probably tired of his
      three babies wearing dirty diapers, so late at night, he sneaked to the water valve in La Paloma with his key and turned on the water so we could have a few dribbles..enough to fill our water jugs. I’m happy to help this wonderful family. I just hope we have enough water to fill up the new tank. His babies need to have water!

    • Thanks for your kind comment. I can’t bear to see our lovely neighbors without water. Here’s the problem..we are spending $1,700 for a new water system. That’s more than an average family makes in a year. Our neighbors live in a one room shack with dirt floors, an outhouse, and a hose that supplies running water from the municipality. They could never afford to install an alternative water system. There are 8 people living under one hot tin roof. Two of them are toddlers and one baby. I’m definitely opening that can of worms for their sake!

  4. Good luck with your neighbors…. you are setting yourselves up for future dependency by them on more than one level. You are opening a can of worms. I thought you learned a lesson loaning money to Nicas…

    • Dean, I appreciate your comment, but I honestly don’t think it will be a problem. We’re running a water line to their house with a shut off valve with a lock at our tank. They have city water at their house (well, it comes through a hose). They fill up a metal barrel with their hose. It will only be used when their metal barrel is dry and there is no city water to refill it. I really don’t expect any water wars. Our neighbors have done so many generous things for us. When those babies need a bath or drinking water, I certainly want to do what I can to help them. It’s the least I can do to repay them for the kindness they have shown us. I’m just paying it forward.

      • Sharing water is an act of kindness and generosity. Having water to drink is a fundamental human right. I can’t imagine a world where people think that sharing water with a neighbor is a bad thing. There was a time that people shared food and drink with any traveler passing through. I would rather starve and die of thirst with my neighbors than be a survivalist that hoards it all for myself and my family. We are in this together, aren’t we?

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