Week 46 – Blah. Blah. Water Emergency! Blah.

Fans of the tv series True Blood may remember the scene where Pam interrupted Sookie and Eric saying, “Blah. Blah. Water Emergency! Blah.” It was a great moment in the series where they made light of the ridiculousness of their own predicament.

So it goes with our little project in Costa Rica…

The house is basically finished and furnished now and only in need of final decorative touches. On this trip down we hope to get close to completion on that we’ve been planning to bring my parents and sister down this week for a few months now.

About three weeks before our flight down here, we received notice from the developer that the pump in the community well had failed and was in need of repair, possibly replacement. He wanted to get bids from a couple contractors and thought it would take two to three weeks to get it all resolved. That meant it was likely the well would not be functional when we arrived. Five people in a house with no water. This could get ugly.


Shortly after that we received an email from our property manager explaining that rainwater runoff around the entryway was washing out the flower beds and recommended gutters.


Just a few days after that the management company emailed to inform that during a particularly heavy rain, runoff from the back of the house had seeped under and washed out a portion of the façade around the entry

Water emergency!

In the same email they informed us that even with the anti erosion matting we had placed on the hillside in front of the house, the hill was still eroding and putting the driveway in jeopardy.


Though three of them were rain related we had four different water emergencies arise in less than two weeks. Ridiculous! We agreed to defer any work on drainage until we arrived so we could discuss options with Roberto and Fernando.

The developer was working on the well so we didn’t have to worry about that one. When we arrived, a crew was working on it but at that point they had merely extracted the pump and had determined that it needed to be replaced. Parts were coming from San Jose and they expected to have it working some time this week. Fortunately we had installed a 5000 liter (1320 gallon) reserve water tank and it was about 3/4-full from the last time the pump ran. It would be tight but if we were careful we thought it would be enough.

This is where I thank all my friends who have homes in the area and implored us to have the reserve tank installed. Better still, have it placed as high up on the property as possible so electric pumps are not required to have good pressure. Lengthy power outages aren’t as common as they once were but they still happen. Having an ample reserve tank with gravity fed water pressure insures the house has running water even during power (and well) outages.

It worked perfectly. We were below 1/4-full on the last day of our visit when the crew got the well working and water was flowing again. We had vacillated  between a 2500 and 5000 liter tank. 5000 liter was the right choice.

Regarding all the  rain water runoff issues, all our friends told us, no matter how well you think you’ve planned for it with gutters and drains the first heavy rain will bring issues to light that you never imagined. First you build the house THEN you deal with the rain.  They were right!

After much discussion with the architect and builder we agreed to add more guttering around the entryway and to change the location of the downspout to the back of the house to to reduce the volume of water flowing down the hill in front. They will add a concrete channel behind the social wing that will carry the water from the new gutters and the flow from the back of the social wing down into an existing ravine. Across the front, where the hill was eroding, we agreed to place a concrete curb and channel along the edge of the driveway. That will funnel all the runoff to one place where they will install drain pipe to carry the water down to another ravine without washing the hill away.

Plans are all in place now as we are preparing to depart. We’re planning to return in about six weeks and expect to have all this resolved by then. On this trip we did get the coffee table and TV console and a few other decorative items complete so were closer but not quite ready for rental. NEXT trip.


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