Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Baja California - La Paz, curious about water.

Reading the old posts, from Merida, yesterday, I realized that I had done some water colour painting while I was there and vowed to try and do more (the only way I can get better is practice, and lessons!). I bought my paints with me on this trip so gave it a another try.
Prepped on the table outside. A yoghurt container lid for a pallette.
Every time I have painted it has been en plein air and I always forget how fast the paint dries, the colours  I've mixed and then when I brush them on too. It makes it more difficult to blend, wash etc.
He was rather fun to do, the zen doodle cow skull.

People in La Paz are serious about having clean cars. The neighbours, who appear to have 3 vehicles, wash them every weekend. There are car washes, hand and automatic, scattered through the streets and enterprising men offer to wash your car while you are in the grocery store. This made me curious about water here. In two weeks I have not seen a drop of rain though I am told it rained alot with a recent hurricane and the summer months are rainier.
There is a cistern on the roof of the house and it is filled twice a week with city water. Dale told me that hers, in Todos Santos, is filled once a week. I have been pretty careful with water as I don't really know how long a cistern full lasts. Of course I am drinking bottled water. The water from the air conditioner pipe is used to water the courtyard plants.
I pour the bottled water into this attractive crock so it's easy to fill a glass or a water bottle.
 Researching on the internet I found out that La Paz gets, on average, about 7 inches of rain a year in 18 rainy days. Water comes from an aquafier and they are building an aquaduct to get more water from the Sierra de la Laguna mountains. One article noted that most people in La Paz don't have a water meter so have no idea how much they are using or if they have a leak. A survey done also concluded that most residents of La Paz don't know that their water comes from the mountains or how much it costs.
There is residual arsenic pollution, in the water, in the mountains, from previous mining operations and there is currently quite a bit of resistance to a plan for Canadian and American companies to start up mining operations again. Wealthy developments (mostly around Los Cabos) have been putting in desalination plants to solve their water shortages but there is not much research on how many can operate in a small area without environmental consequences (a huge use of energy and pumping concentrated brine back into the ocean). I found a 2015 article that stated that a desalination plant would start construction, in La Paz, that year, also a water treatment plant, but I could find no indication that either plan materialized.. It is unlikely that the area will get more rain and it is the second fastest growing state in Mexico.

The fountain in the central square (designed to look like a local coastal rock formation) isn't always operating.
Interestingly the Nov 29, 2016 edition of the Baja Citizen, a local English language publication had an article titled "Home Water Management Ideas in La Paz" but the article was entirely about water softeners and water filters, not about using less water.
House finch bathing, unconcerned about the water supply, in a courtyard fountain.

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