El agua, es gratis!!

So we met our other neighbour, Paco, yesterday. He owns the terraces above ours. After a quick chat and introductions he said there is a fiesta in town on Sunday and that we should come along – a good way to get to know some of the people in the village.

Now there are two different types of irrigation used around here – the drip irrigation, which we have, is an intricate network of pipes around the property with valves that sprinkle water gently around each tree. Every 2-3 days we turn the water on for a couple of hours. It takes some maintenance to stop the valves blowing, but we can carry on with our normal living while the water is on.

The other method is flooding. We have lots of channels and pipes around the property that used to be used to carry the flood water around the farm, but we were told these are no longer used because the previous owner has installed the drip irrigation.

Paco uses the flooding method … on the terraces above us …

What he did tell us is that the water for this method of irrigation is free in the winter for farmers as it comes straight from the river, and he would show us how to use this and where to turn the water on in the lane. He also explained he was going to do his terraces that day.

He helped Rog scramble up to his terrace and pulled a screen up in a channel shouting ‘El agua, es gratis!!!’ (The water is free). And that’s when it all started to go horribly wrong … Rog watched in horror as the water shot down across our terraces. Our channels and pipes are clearly clogged up in places and so the water went straight into the shed instead of under it in the water channel. And with this method of irrigation theres no off switch – so the water just kept coming!

Poor Rog had spent the last few days organising the shed and now everything was floating in 12 inches of water … two hours of sloshing around in wellies and we think we’ve saved it all. The shed wall has an interesting ‘lean’ (definitely wouldn’t pass building regs!) and now we know why! Lord knows how long the shed has been flooding every time Paco irrigates!

So today’s job is to unclog the water channels before Paco decides to irrigate again!

We eventually came in to eat and sat looking at each other across the table, covered in mud … before bursting into hysterical laughter. Well, what else can you do!

And at least we know if we sort the channels out we can have free irrigation water in the winter, although I don’t know if my nerve would hold to try the flooding method again!

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