Saturday, August 24, 2013

The hunt for water

I mentioned that we were having a drought. This is supposed to be the rainy season, and although it rained every afternoon in May, since then we have had not one drop. It often clouds over in the afternoon, we even have thunder and lightning, but no rain. Everything looks brown, the plants have died and the newly planted fruit trees are dying. Neighbours are looking to sell their cows and goats as there is no grass for them to eat and the lack of rain is becoming a serious problem.

We have water which comes by pipeline into a large cistern supposedly once a fortnight but it is always late, sometimes only coming once a month, and when the cistern is empty we need to buy water from a truck, which is expensive. There is usually enough for household needs but not enough to water the garden. So I decided that we have to dig a well in the garden somewhere and use that for watering. There are however two problems. Firstly we live at 1500 feet, and I am reliably informed by the locals that the closest water is 800 feet down, although no idea how they know that, and secondly I have no idea where to put the well, as no idea where the water is likely to be.

I remembered, however, that in England people used to dowse for water.

From what I could remember you take a forked stick, hold it out in front of you and it jiggles up and down where there is water. I was sure the local campo folk would know about this, but they all looked at me as if I was mad. Not to be thwarted, I asked Hector to go and cut me a stick, and my English friends told me it should be hazel or willow.

Not a hazel or willow tree in sight and Hector seemed somewhat reluctant to cut any sort of stick. It appeared that he was concerned that I might actually find water and ask him to dig a well – and he had no intention of digging down 800 feet.

In the end he cut a stick – and I held it over the water cistern. Nothing, nada, zip. That called for a change of plan, so, having taken more advice, I eventually found two wire coat hangers, cut them in half and tried with them. Success! When I walked over the cistern the two wires crossed. Mr non believer Hector decided to try too and walked slowly to the water cistern, through the gymnasium.

Bingo, it worked for him too. The wires crossed even though he tried his hardest to hold them straight.

Today, Chivirico arrived with his aunt and she had a go over the water cistern watched by unbelieving neighbour

It worked once again, so Chivirico had a go too and it worked for him.

So Chivirico and I set off for the bottom of the garden to hunt for water. He walked slowly northwards chanting “Agua Agua donde tu estas (actually said donde tu ta)” as we had been instructed to by Nicola from Devon who knows all about water divining. It means "Water water where are you?" Nothing at all, but he kept concentrating.

but suddenly it worked – and worked while he was walking along  for about 30 feet.

Danilo came to check, and has agreed to start digging as he has decided it is an underground river, and we will go into the business of selling water. Hector was not so impressed and has announced that he is going on holiday for a week!

Talking of Hector, he has just decided that he is an alternative medicine specialist and has become addicted to making juice. His juices are taking over the fridge, but all have to have Carnation milk and oats in them.

We have passion fruit, and beetroot with carrots. I asked him to try and do some without Carnation, as if he was a real doctor he would realize that the natural fruit and vegetables would do more good without added sugar. To test him on his medical ability I asked him how many kidneys we had – one he replied. Lungs? One as well. Having shown him a picture of the anatomy of the human body, he agreed to try juice without Carnation, so we now have lime juice and beetroot with mango and celery. Tomorrow he wants to make melon and pineapple together – with Carnation and oats - before leaving to save having to dig the well.


  1. I am sorry to hear of the drought. I hope rain comes. It is scary how much weather systems are changing. I also have tried dowsing, it is really very wonderful!

    1. You are right Holly it is very scary - I hope it rains soon too.

  2. Ahhhhh yes. Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink - The Ancient Mariner

  3. We have an old family cemetery up on a hill behind a farm that we can reach by crossing a creek and a field. Needless to say the cemetery is pretty much abandoned. Cousin Wendell used two copper wires and plotted out the graves with stakes. They seem to line up in rows equally distanced apart. We all had a go at it and they really do cross when coming up on a grave with a marker and, therefore, unmarked graves in a pattern. Hmmm, might be more truth to the water witching than one might believe.

    1. Wow that is spooky. Yes I think it really does work.

  4. I had heard of that system but just thought it was a old wive's tale, but it appears it really works then.
    I hope you do find water! Or that the rain starts falling. Australia is also a very dry country and we have water restrictions.

    1. When I googled it Sami, most of the You tube videos were of people looking for water in Australia. I think it works - will report back if we strike water.

  5. We have the same problem on St Maarten :-)
    It's been very dry here.