Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Desperate Times, Desperate Measures

We saw this desperate time coming.  When the winter was mild and dry and there was never enough snow for E to use the sled he received for Christmas.  We saw it coming when spring arrived with 90+ degree days and no showers or thunderstorms.  It seemed as if we were panicky about the weather long before the Weather Channel started sounding alarms about drought.  We are not particulary prescient, the reason for the anxiety was this: we use a well as our primary source of water.

Last summer became hot and dry in late July and continued to be through August.  Not technically a drought for central IL, just "unusually dry."  However, unusually dry was enough to make us hit bottom on our well two or three times.  After a day or two of taking it easy on the water usage, the depression in the water table would level out and we would be back in business.

This summer has been different and worse.  We hit bottom on our well in early June.  We conserved, washed laundry at the laundromat, and, finally, stopped watering our garden.  For awhile, a month or so, this was enough and our water would return.  Then it got desperate.  As the temperatures stayed high and the rain stayed away, the water in the Mahomet Aquifer that we rely on dropped beneath the pickup for our well.

No amount of conservancy could help us now.  We simply could not reach the water.

We were blessed in early August by R's parents who presented us with an anniversary gift of a pickup truck water tank.  Romantic, I know.

Now we take water trips once or twice a week to a small town to the northwest of our home.  Quarters go into a metal slot in the brick wall of a small brick building and out comes life-sustaining water.

We then bring the water home and dispense it into our well.  It has been enough so far to keep our bodies clean, our dishes washed and our toilet flushed.  And for that we are grateful.  Not enough for laundry, but thus far, the City of Decatur has not yet restricted laundromats.

I am hopeful, so hopeful for significant rain from Hurricaine Isaac.   The latest storm track shows it covering the great state of Illinois by late Saturday or Sunday.  It won't be enough to end the drought, for that we would need close to 15 inches of rain, but maybe it will be enough for our well to once again reach the groundwater.

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