Monday, April 12, 2010

You never miss the water till the well runs dry

Deep into 'El Niño' and the dessicated land is crying out for moisture. But the clear blue sky is an indication that no rain will fall any time soon. The plants are showing signs of stress from the heat and lack of water. The grass fields where the sheep forage are turning brown.

The sheep are foraging for some green grass on a brown landscape.

In my 'Hot child in the city' post, I mentioned that our water sources are still OK, but that's no longer the case. The shallow wells and watering holes where water naturally wells up from under the ground are either dry or drying up. These are our only source of water for the plants in the upper part of the garden. In some holes where water is still flowing up from beneath the ground, the flow has slowed down to a trickle, and so the supply could not meet the huge demand.

Prolonged drought has forced us to use water from the river to water the plants in the upper garden.

Desperate situation requires desperate action. To save the plants from completely withering they decided to turn to the river for water. The river may be adjacent to the garden but the problem is it's quite a long way down a cliff to get there. Hauling several huge plastic barrels into a jeep they drive a few minutes down into the side of the river, fill the barrels with water and drive back up to the garden. This laborious task is done twice a day just so the thirsty plants in the garden could take a drink.

One of the plastic barrels under a tree. There are several barrels placed at different areas of the upper garden. They are constantly filled with water used for watering the plants.

The upper garden is still sparsely planted and there are few more plants in the nursery waiting to be transplanted. But the lack of rain, and now ground water, dictates that they remain in the nursery at least until the rainy season comes.

El Niño is a weather phenomenon that causes drought and extreme heat in some parts of the world and severe rain and flood in other places.