No Cold Water Again

Random Pool ShotOur farmhouse has a cistern on the roof. As I understand it, water from the mains–the city waterworks keeps this shiny, metal tank full. You can see some of these tanks if you click on the thumbnail photo. The water’s then gravity-fed into our pipes.

It’s been really hot over the past few days–anywhere from 35 to 40 degrees, depending on who you ask. The sun, as you might imagine, has been blazing down. The farmhouse has crazy-thick walls, so we’ve been okay.

The tank on the roof, however, is just a big heat magnet. The peculiar result is that, first thing in the morning, there’s literally no cold water. It’s always a bit of a shock when brushing my teeth. Once we use some of the water, the tank seems to cool down a bit.

It’s no big deal, certainly, just an odd reversal for a Canadian accustomed to the reverse problem.


  1. I was in Oz last year and they have the same problem in parts. Water came in hot, hotter or boiling. When we wanted a nice drink we took to putting a dash of lemon cordial in the water, made it seem better.

  2. Mexico runs a similar system, but you will also have an underground cistern in front of every building. Water is pumped from cistern to the roof tank whenever a float in the tank triggers the pump. The cistern is necessary as the municipal water that replenishes it only flows at night, so it is secondary storage. I’m still unsure why the water does not flow 24 hours a day; you would think that the infrastructure would be simpler if you doubled the time to deliver the same amount of water.

  3. I once worked at a camp located above a hot spring, which was also our source for most of the water in the camp. Cold water came from a cooling tank on the roof, so it wasn’t unusual to run out of cold water. Since the water came out of the ground at about 150 degrees, that was a problem.

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