Water Now Flows Uphill in Santa Clara

I knew that title would get your attention.  Here’s another little tidbit from last week’s stay in Santa Clara.

When I arrived, the afternoon was hot and there was no water coming to the house.  We had drinking water that had been collected from the BSF (see my earlier post on BSFs in Santa Clara), but no water for shower or anything else–use your imagination on that one.

What’s the problem?  Of course–everybody knows–there’s not enough water coming to the community water storage tank.  So said the expert behind the screen.

A trip up the hill to the primary and secondary water storage tanks showed that one was full and the other one about half full.  Hmmm.  Much of the community had water, but the houses located higher on the hill didn’t.  Hmmm.  Tanks are plenty higher than the highest houses.  Hmmm.  Sounds like a pressure drop problem, not lack of water.  Hmmm.

Discussions with Lencho and Nelson clarified the situation.  An earlier water system bringing in highly contaminated water (yes, worse than what they now get, which is still contaminated) was abandoned a few years ago.  The water distribution system was revised so the flow of water went down the hill and all through town before coming back up the hill to the houses located up higher.  The problem was that the pressure drop through that long loop was so much that there wasn’t enough pressure left to push the water up the hill all the way.

Some interesting discussions on hydraulics and pressure drop through piping systems occurred, and some piping and an abandoned storage tank from years ago were re-activated.  The big house on the hill now has water coming out of the shower like a miniature Niagara Falls instead of just a dribble or less.  And the other facilities you imagined earlier also work well.  Problem solved!  Water once again flows uphill–in a pipe.

Allen