Gone are the days of hand pumps which transferred water from your tank to a small reservoir in the roof.
This simple system served many a Bermudian family, using gravity and elbow grease to provide basic water pressure, and a cold shower — every few days or so.
Clothes were washed by hand. And as some of our older generations still do, waste bath and kitchen water was saved for flushing and the vegetable garden.
But here are the days of massaging showerheads, built-in Jacuzzi tubs, family-size washing machines, and man’s best friend — the dishwasher.
The Bermuda household of today uses more water than it ever has.
While our characteristic white roofs continue to maintain their form and utility (albeit with undercover advances in materials and construction), and our tanks have grown in size, many a Bermuda household consumes more than it can catch and/or store, especially in times of drought.
So today we make water.
We have proven technology to ‘make’ water, or more accurately, to extract, process and treat water into a form we can safely drink.
Modern Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems, though becoming increasingly more efficient, still require significant maintenance, expertise and electrical costs to operate.
In short, these units force water at high pressure through a membrane with microscopic pores, pores large enough to allow smaller water molecules through but to filter out larger molecules such as salt and minerals.
Raw water (which may start off as fresh, brackish, or salt) is extracted from wells located around the island.
This water is ‘RO’d’ and treated to Government specifications, including chlorination.
Following this, the treated water is pumped to reservoirs for holding and distribution.
The primary large-scale sources for publicly-consumed water production in Bermuda include the Bermuda Government, John Barritt’s, Bermuda Waterworks Ltd, and KC Daniels Ltd.
While the scale varies, the basic process is the same.
When it comes to transportation, if you already have piped water, distribution is easy; however, it’s a wise idea to top up your tank before times of peak demand.
A float valve can automate this and maintain a desired level — a wise and less worrisome choice for someone.
The plumbing shop at Bermuda Waterworks stocks these.
Installation is straightforward and only requires basic plumbing skills, or a phone call to a competent plumber.
Unlike many parts of the world, Bermuda does not have municipal water piped into every home.
While the number of households with this option grows every year, the majority of Bermuda households and many businesses do not have it.
Roll out Plan B, as in back-up — the ubiquitous Bermuda water truck. Ranging in size and shape, every one of them is custom-built to navigate the narrow roads of Bermuda.
There are approximately 34 companies, almost all small family businesses, and 45 trucks.
The secret to getting one quick? Don’t run out in the first place!
Check your tank and order in advance, especially in the summer months, and especially if you live in the west or east end.
A wireless tank monitor may be in order for those with tanks that are difficult to check. Check out www.etank.bm.
Where there is a will, there is a way, and the operators get these trucks into the smallest of places, on the darkest of nights.
Weighing in at over four tons per 1,000 US gallons, that payload, coupled with Bermuda’s winding, uneven roads and bumpy off-road driveways, the job plays havoc with the tyres, chassis, suspension, brakes and transmissions.
Upon reaching its destination, a truck will off-load its cargo through hoses as short as 10 feet, to as many as several hundred for some hard-to-reach jobs.
• Darren De Silva is the owner of Waternow. Services include: Water delivery; tank cleaning, sanitation and repairs; water testing; pool services; and roof cleaning, painting and repairs. Contact 504-5555 or see www.waternow.bm and order online.