Friday, May 7, 2010

"Whisky is for drinking...

...water is for fighting over".  So said Mark Twain and he sure got it right.

We don't have a shooting war with Zhenia and Lucia but never-the-less... 

We are the last two houses at the end of a city water line.  The line was replaced in 2007, including a new line to our house.  I think the city line was 4 or 5 inches in diameter.  It didn't help our pressure problems which we traced earlier this year to in our own lines .  We fixed the lines and we had pressure.

Until a couple days ago.  It has been dry and both Tanya and Lucia have been watering. Now we knew that in previous summers when people were watering gardens and such we had NO pressure at all. Now we were back to no pressure again.  Two days ago, Tanya figured it out.  Zhenia had built a reservoir underground some years back, before my time anyhow, from which he pumped water for his own big gardens with his own pump which can move a fair bit of water.  He tapped into the city water line with a large diameter pipe to fill his reservoir.  Unofficially, of course.

When he opens the tap on the big line to fill his reservoir, there is enough flow that the line pressure drops, according to Tanya.  And when he shuts off all his taps we have pressure, so maybe she is right.  I need an engineer's input on this one. (Dan M, are you civil?).  The three of them got into a shouting match and Tanya threatened to call the City Water Department. 

She would never have done so but it scared Zhenia. By yesterday morning he had installed a meter at his garden reservoir and brought the City Water Dept people out to make it official.  This will hit them where it hurts.  Previous water bills were like 5 cu meters while ours were 20 cu meters.

Wonder how long it will take for this to blow over?  Some days I can't understand why I want to learn the language.  Being an innocent bystander has its advantages.  If the stray bullets miss you.


  1. Why wouldn't you guys report him? He was not only messing up your ability to get water that you were paying for, he was out-and-out stealing water.

  2. Two reasons, Snow.

    They don't report us when my dogs fight in their garden patch or kill a couple of their chickens. In a rural setting you live with your neighbours until it is an extreme case and you no longer can.

    Stealing from the authorities is as old as Kyivian-Rus culture as the authorities have always stolen from the common people. The Tsar, nobility and upper classes. Then the Party bigshots. Now the politicians, oligarchs and senior bureaucrats steal all they can.

    If you get a chance sometime, read Gogol's Dead Souls. It is a wonderful series of character sketches of early 19th century Russia. I learned that many of the quirks of Russian and Ukrainian society are not the fault of Communism but are as culturally ingrained as vodka, salo and kolbasa.

  3. You should try to get your neighbour to fill his reservoir at night when you are not using your taps.

  4. DC, good idea. Will suggest it at a later date when things have settled.