Tree change – The Royal Flush

There was no kind of flush yesterday.  Yes, that’s right!  We  ran out of water again!

How do we run out of water you ask?  Especially when we’ve been complaining about rain, rain and floods?  It’s very simple really.  There’s the tank – waaaaaaay way up the hill from the house.  It flows to the house – downhill.  It’s known as ‘Gravity Fed.’


And there’s the river – waaaaaaaay way down there…………..across the road and far away.   Since water doesn’t run up hill the river being full won’t fill the tank.  And the house being half a paddock away also won’t fill the tank (well just the drinking water tank.)


There’s a few issues with this scenario.  One is that it’s bluddy annoying watching water running out of the house tank when you know the big tank is probably nearly empty.   Before we moved in they used to pump back up to the big tank when it rained up big.  But with 8 years of drought it’s not really been a priority – and pumping out of the river is bad enough without trying to work out how to hang a pump half way up a house.


Over the years we have had some mighty big fun with the pumping site and pipes.  The pipe runs underground (to stop it from cracking if it gets frozen when full of water, trodden on by animals, run over by people paddock bashing and other incidentals.  Then, it comes above ground before the road, travels under the road in a big concrete pipe, and thru a drain to the river.  Too easy!  The black poly pipe doesn’t like to be bent though.  When there is a ferocious storm and huge amounts of water wash trees, mud, bark etc into the concrete pipe and it all banks up, the poly pipe can get bent at right angles somewhere, before, after or under the road.  First, you have to find it.


Then you have to find the hacksaw (to cut it out), the hacksaw is always lost, sometimes bladeless, and often blunt.  Then you need a connector.  Or if you don’t have the actual connector you need, then you need a few different bits that could join up.  You need to estimate the length you need to cut out so that the assorted pieces will fit in exactly.  And try to cut the pipe straight not crooked.  When you’ve got all that done you can hook it up again.  Of course, because you were using old pieces (never, ever throw the b*ggers out) it may explode apart as soon as you start the pump and get it up to pressure.


If you’re really lucky there’ll be a join nearby to the point you need to replace.  Only the join there will be seized and you won’t have enough muscle power to undo it.  After a lot of swearing, telling the kids to hush their mouths when they tell you to chill, and a lot of nasty thoughts, a trip to the nearest neighbour who might be home ensues.  Sometimes this neighbours wife will tell you to sit down and have a coffee with her – surely a grown man and two boys can do it on their own.  If that happens, have the coffee because the day isn’t finished yet.


You have to get the pump and equipment down the river bank.  You’ll have a lot of bits and bobs in the back of the ute if you’ve got any sense.  Or else you’ll be driving backwards and forwards across the road all morning, opening and closing the gate as you do.


How high is the river.  Or how low as the case has been most of the years we’ve been here.  If it’s very low you have to put the pump at the end of the pipe, and then try to find a deep enough part of the river that the bendy corrugated rubberised pipe will reach to – and put the filter end of it in a bucket in the water or it will suck up sand and gravel and your pump is cactus.  Of course, if it moves out of the water, runs out of water, and sucks air you won’t be lookin’ good either.


If it’s been raining up there in them coastal hills your pumping site may be under water.  That’s when you will have to cut off the pipe up short (brought the hacksaw did ya?) and then put the connector on.  Of course, if you had the one way valve on (so water can’t flow back into the river if the top tank tap is faulty, then you will have opened the top tank tap and whatever water left in the tank will be spewing forth at you at incredible pressure.  If it’s winter you’ll need a milo (or something stronger) when you’re finished.  If it’s been cut before and a connector used then you’ll still be wet – but only if you had enough muscle to get the d@mnn thing unstuck first.  Of course, if you’d had any sense (or someone had warned you) you would have put the one way valve further up the pipe when you put it in last time, so that it didn’t leak, but also you didn’t have to wear it everytime the river went up or down.

Recently with so much rain so often it’s been really hard.  Our usual pumping sites are just plain under water.  Half a metre or so.  So we’ve had to build a platform out of rocks and gravel each time, and then dog chain the pump to a tree further up the bank – it vibrates itself over the edge and you’re not only buying a new pump, you’re also still out of water.

It can take between 2 1/2 hours to 4 hours to pump a full tank.  Depends on how the pump is feeling.  After being caught a few times with exploded pipes just after the pump got going, and water just not going upwards (not good for the pump) we usually go straight up the hill to check that the water is entering the tank.  After walking along and listening for any splashes along the drain that give-away an exploded pipe.

The worst one was 2 hours pumping – half full tank.  Awesome.  Race to pump site.  Turn off pump – refill with petrol.  Turn on pump.  Go into town to pick up macca’s boy.  Shop quickly.  Come home via pump site to collect pump as tank will be now full.  Sound of rapidly running water greets you as you turn off the car.  OFGFS!  That’s right.  AFTER you left the second time the pipe burst.  The pump has merrily been pumping water which is running back into the river…………………whilst the water that WAS in the tank is joining it in it’s race back to whence it came.


I’m going to leave you there – since it was not pretty.  I’m not proud of how I behaved.  I’m pretty sure that the kid will need therapy.  But I’ve had all the water therapy I can take for a while.

I’m  going to flush the toilet now – just because I can.


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